Local Ohio Means Jobs office working with WestRock employees

| December 11, 2015

DSC_0037COSHOCTON – The smoke has stopped pouring out of WestRock’s stacks and Ohio Means Jobs Coshocton County officials hope they have helped direct some of the company’s former employees into their new future.

The company announced in late fall that it was closing the plant, which was said to employ 225 people, before the end of the year.

On Dec. 9, the local Ohio Means Jobs office had a special job fair at Lake Park Pavilion just for the displaced workers. Sherri Gibson, business coordinator with Ohio Means Jobs Coshocton County, said 20 businesses and educational entities were at the fair that was attended by more than 70 WestRock employees.

“A paper mill from Alsip, Ill. flew into recruit, Kraft hired eight on the spot, AK Steel is talking to several candidates and seven people are making the trip to Illinois to visit the mill up there,” Gibson said. “Nestle Purina in Zanesville also was excited with the applicants they got.”

Another service Gibson’s office provided the employees with was a transition center that closed at 5 p.m. Dec. 11.

“We set it up in their administration building and offered resume writing to folks and there were financial consultants there,” she said. “We were mostly there to provide support and so they could stop before or after a shift instead of having to drive over to our office. We wanted to be easily accessible.”

Gibson noted that the WestRock employees also were provided with information on the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) that can help them get training or schooling in a growth field.

“They all got an orientation on it and I’ve already done applications with some,” said Ed Zinkon, who is a WIOA case manger.

WestRock was a corrugated paper mill that had been in Coshocton since the mid 1800s. The plant has been through two mergers within the past five years.

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I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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