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Workforce Success Story Submitted By:
Opportunity Inc. (Hampton Roads WIB)

Rapid Response

Workforce Challenge

International Paper (IP) announced it would close its Franklin, VA paper mill on Oct. 22, 2009, resulting in the loss of more than 1,100 jobs. Located in a largely rural area, the plant and its suppliers were the main-stay of the local economy. With the national recession in full swing, employees faced grim job prospects.

Workforce Solution

Within one month, Opportunity Inc., the Workforce Investment Board covering 8 localities in Southeastern Virginia opened an on-site Transition Center at the mill to provide services and resources. In addition to traditional WIA funded services, Opportunity Inc. organized events included:

Job Fair, January 2010. 43 employers participated, and more than 1,300 people attended. 52 on-site interviews were conducted and 29 employment offers were made that day.

Supplier Meeting, February, 2010. This event connected several International Paper suppliers with state and federal resources. The WIB sponsored ads in local newspapers to promote affected suppliers.

Community Resource Fair, March 2010. This event connected impacted International Paper families with access to community services and resources.

Outcomes & Benefits

Of the 877 Virginia residents among those International Paper employees impacted by the layoff, over half are re-employed or in training and nearly another quarter are retired or relocated for jobs elsewhere.

Opportunity Inc. continues to serve the community through its One-Stop Workforce Center in Franklin, assisting International Paper employees, their families and the others impacted by the plant closure.

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