SELINSGROVE — Danielle Feudale from Shamokin Carbon wants former Wood-Mode employees to work with her at the Northumberland County manufacturing business.
“We need hard workers and if people are putting 40 years in a company we know they are hard-working,” she said of many of the long-serving 938 Wood-Mode employees who were suddenly laid off on May 13 when the Kreamer custom cabinet manufacturer closed.
Feudale represented one of the 135 companies at Tuesday’s job fair exclusively held for former Wood-Mode employees at the Selinsgrove Elementary School.
Finding employment near her Kreamer home is turning out to be difficult for Shelby Wagner who was among the nearly 400 laid-off workers who attended the event.
“I’d like something within 20 to 25 miles, but most are far away,” she said, clutching information from Fry Communications based in Mechanicsburg. “This company said they’d bus us for $12 a month if they get enough employees.”
Other companies are offering training support to employees.
Stan Foster, chief operating officer at Superior Energy Services in Brockway, said the company is looking to hire in the Valley and needs laborers, truck drivers, mechanics and salespeople.
“We have an apprentice program and will provide all the training,” he said.
Jennifer Renninger said she’s already taken three Civil Service exams and was scouting for other opportunities at the job fair, looking for office work.
As job-seekers snacked on pizza donated by Papa John’s, Chris Moyer walked through the school checking out his options.
After 28 years of building cabinets, the Selinsgrove-area man said he’s hoping to land a job quickly, particularly since full unemployment benefits will expire in 26 weeks.
“Where are all these people going to find jobs before unemployment runs out in November? How will this area absorb that many jobs?” Moyer said. “Benefits will run out right around the holidays and heating season.”
The immediate concern is getting all the displaced employees signed up for unemployment benefits before the 30-day deadline, said Erica Mulberger, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania Workforce Development Corporation (CPWDC).
Another registration event will be held Friday at SUN Area Technical Institute in New Berlin from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. for people with the last names starting with A to K and from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for people with last names starting with L to Z.
The Union-Snyder Community Action Agency has been “flooded” with calls from more than 100 people since the plant closed down, Executive Director Sue Auman said.
“Our agency is a go-to for basic needs” and the suddenly unemployed are needing help in paying mortgages and health care, she said.
“Immediately our response included sharing and ‘funneling’ folks through all of the many Rapid Response and other resources made available thanks to the support of our partners at CPWDC, CareerLink and Central Susquehanna Opportunities,” she said.
The action agency has been able to help people obtain temporary mortgage abatement and avoid utility shutoffs and set them up with other agencies.
The Wood-Mode Working Family Fund has been created to help families impacted by the closure. Donations may be made at local BB&T branches or by texting woodmode to 41444. Donations will be distributed to agencies providing individual support to affected individuals.
“We encourage any family struggling or facing a crisis to call us,” Auman said. “We are here to help and ... we are actively seeking funding to mitigate the monumental impact this closure will have on our community.”