Retention team established to assist displaced LSC workers

KENDALLVILLE — Local workforce organizations are already mobilizing in an effort to help more than 300 people who will be terminated when a Kendallville book binding plant closes this fall.

City officials and local organizations are helping to make the transition into new jobs as smooth as possible for displaced workers from LSC Communications plant on Marion Drive. On Sept. 1, LSC, most commonly known by its previous name, Courier, announced it was permanently closing the plant, affecting all 307 employees there.

Employees will start being let go Oct. 1, with all employees gone by Dec. 23, the company said in its WARN notice to the state.

Upon getting the news, Kendallville officials and other local organizations leapt to start arranging resources for the workers who will need to find other jobs.

“The news this week that LSC Communications will close the former Courier plant on Marion Drive in Kendallville came as a shock to many, including affected workers and community leaders,” Mayor Suzanne Handshoe said in a release put out Thursday afternoon. “Those leaders are now coming together to assure workers they are committed to providing the resources and support they may need to secure a stable future and remain part of the community.”

Since the closure announcement, the mayor’s office has joined forces with the Noble County Economic Development Corp., led by Executive Director Gary Gatman, to launch an initiative that will capitalize on the expertise and services of several local organizations.

Joining the mayor and EDC in the new effort will be Northeast Indiana Works, Freedom Academy, Region 3-A Development and Regional Planning Commission, Kendallville Area Chamber of Commerce, The Community Learning Center, United Way and Common Grace Ministries. Those groups are scheduled to meet this week to hash out the roles each can provide in assisting displaced workers.

Many of the resources needed to get workers to bounce back to new jobs are already in place and just need to be connected to employees.

“The good news is that there are a lot of opportunities for these individuals in Noble County,” Gatman said. “There are currently skill training programs available that will pay $5,000 to $10,000 for individuals to learn new skills to get a good job. There are workers who already have strong skills that local employers are seeking, and many jobs are available. We will be pulling the troops together to make sure that every worker gets the support they need, no matter what that may be.”

Plans include the launch of a website that will be dedicated to providing information as it becomes available including links to services, jobs, skills training, and more. Announcements will be made on the EDC website at noblecountyedc.com as well as the organization’s Facebook page about the website launch.

Questions may be directed, in the meantime, to the EDC at 636-3800 or by email to info@noblecountyedc.com. EDC staff will work closely with the mayor’s office and other partners to ensure questions are directed to the appropriate leaders and organizations and answered in a timely manner.