City has resources for mill workers

Published 12:36 pm Sunday, October 7, 2007

By By Lydia Grimes and Lisa Tindell
the brewton standard

With only 500 employees hired back at the Brewton mill — now owned by Georgia-Pacific — dozens of former Smurfit-Stone workers are likely looking for new jobs.
The Alabama Employment Service and Jefferson Davis Community College are working to help those who have found themselves in a difficult situation.
For example, many Smurfit workers found out they would need a high school diploma or GED to work at Georgia-Pacific. JDCC set special testing dates for the graduation equivalency exam.
Bennett said JDCC has a commitment to the community and the people the college serves.
Bennett, who coordinates training for various businesses and industries in the area, said employers throughout the area are always looking for willing workers.
Job services
The Alabama Employment Service works to put willing workers on the job as well. The agency processes thousands of applications each month.
With the recent transition between Smurfit-Stone and Georgia-Pacific, the agency was flooded with new applications to be processed.
The service brings three departments together to ensure coverage of the people who are looking for employment. They are the Workforce Investment Agency, Employment and Unemployment, and Vocational Rehabilitation.
Hal Clements and Arretha Barton, who work in the Brewton office, along with Janice Grayson, who manages both the office in Greenville and Brewton, said the changeover went well.
Grayson said her agency also worked with those who were terminated at Smurfit-Stone to determine their eligibility for unemployment compensation.
Workforce training
Bennett said JDCC offers skills testing, academic and technical counseling among many other services at the college.

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