Upcoming manufacturing job fair a team effort

MAR 12, 2022


FOLLANSBEE — Spurred by the announced closing of the Mountain State Carbon plant, four local organizations have teamed to make former employees of the plant and others aware of positions currently available in the manufacturing industry.

The Follansbee and Weirton chambers of commerce, Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle and West Virginia Northern Community College are organizing a job fair to be held from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., March 24 at the Follansbee Community House.

Eric Fithyan, president of the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce, said, “The important and unique role of the chamber is our connections, which allows us to bring businesses to employees and even greater, our community.”

He and Brenda Mull, president of the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce, said recent news of the Follansbee plant’s closing was a chief motivation but the job fair is open to everyone.

About a month ago, officials with Cleveland-Cliffs, the plant’s owner, announced its planned closure and while they said jobs at other Cleveland-Cliffs facilities would be offered to 288 working there, it would mean relocating to another area.

Fithyan said an effort has been made to draw to the event employers within a relatively short distance, while the focus will be on jobs in the manufacturing industry.

Jacob Keeney, assistant director of the BDC, said, “Despite the recent closure announcement, the BDC is seeing a rise in major business prospect activity and existing expansion in Brooke and Hancock counties within the past year.”

“These prospective, incoming and expanding businesses all need the highly skilled workers we are holding this event for,” he said.

“There are definitely a lot of job openings for people,” said Mull.

Currently slated to appear are representatives of Wheeling-Nippon Steel, Maple Manufacturing, Marsh Bellofram, Jupiter Aluminum Corp., AMG Vanadium, Lauttamus Communications, Lombardi Development Co., JLB Construction, Kalkreuth Roofing and Sheet Metal, Maxwell Welding and Machine, JSW Steel, Gator Transportation and Energy Services, Fanti USA and Trinity Health System.

Organizers were continuing to accept reservations from others on Friday.

Job seekers are encouraged to bring multiple resumes and be prepared for a short interview. Help with creating resumes will be offered.

Representatives of WVNCC, Eastern Gateway Community College and Billy Rig Oil CDL Inc. also will be on hand to share information about educational and training programs available through them, while West Virginia Navigator- First Choice Services will answer questions about transitional healthcare assistance services.

Fithyan noted at least 1,000 people turned out for a job fair spurred by the closing of the Follansbee Koppers plant a few years ago and he and others involved are hoping for a large turnout.

Mull said each of the four sponsors has been working to promote the job fair.

“There’s a lot of us working together to make this a positive event,” she said.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)