West Virginia University Potomac State College teamed up with communities in the area for a job fair after the closure of Verso’s paper mill in Luke, Maryland.
People that were impacted by the Verso closure had an opportunity to learn about available resources. The college also included the “WV Invests Grant” that will provide free college tuition to West Virginia residents. The president of the college explains the impact the paper mill closure.
“We really did want to do something to help the community because this is going to have a ripple effect on everyone so we wanted to not just talk to the folks at verso who are going to be displaced, truckers and the loggers and we have a lot of families who work at our college who are affected by this,” Jennifer Orlikoff said, the campus president. The mill will close permanently at the end of June.
The decision was made after the decline in customer demand for the product. The paper mill has been in Luke for nearly 130 years. About 675 employees are affected. One employee says he worked in the mill for 30 years and didn’t see this coming.
“They have a strange way of doing things and to me they have no idea on how to make paper they run everybody off that knows anything about making paper or anything else at the mill I think that was the biggest downfall,” Michael Smith said, who AHS worked at Verso for 30 years. “I just feel sorry for the younger people,” Smith said. The mill will officially close June 30.