JLG employees look toward future

August 27, 1997


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - There's no good time to be laid off work.

But for single mothers Tammy Pittman and Wendy Keefer of Big Cove Tannery, Pa., sisters who have six children between the two of them, losing their jobs right at the start of the school year has been tough.

"JLG picked a bad time to lay off," Pittman said, who had to buy new school clothes and supplies for her 8- and 6-year-old children. She also has a 5-month-old baby.

Pittman, who's worked at JLG Industries Inc. for two years, and Keefer, who's been there for eight months, are two of 850 people who will lose their jobs at the aerial work platform manufacturer - Fulton County's largest employer - starting Sept. 5.


The upcoming layoffs represent roughly 30 percent of JLG's work force.

The two said they're primarily worried about providing for their children since they'll be losing their insurance through JLG and the only income will be from unemployment checks.

But both attended a meeting and job fair Wednesday afternoon at the American Legion in McConnellsburg, along with about 140 other displaced JLG workers, to try to make the most of their unemployment.

"It makes you mad, but maybe this is for the best," Pittman said, who plans to go back to school and get an associate's degree.

After a panel of speakers provided the crowd with information ranging from job search advice to heading off creditors, the workers circulated among the 15 tables set up by representatives from local colleges, technical institutes and businesses.

Pittman and Keefer were among many who had picked up pamphlets and were already filling out applications and a variety of other paperwork at the job fair.

"You need a degree for anything these days. If that's what I have to do to get a job, then that's what I'm going to do," Pittman said.

The sisters are also considering opening a business together.

Meeting organizers said they were happy with the turnout and believe the word will spread about the help that's available.

"We're here to try to help people make informed decisions about their future," said Sharon Burk, representative of the state Department of Labor's Dislocated Worker Unit.

Besides Wednesday's meeting and job fair, the layoffs may also lead to the establishment of a career center in Fulton County as early as next month that could be used by displaced workers to access job openings via the Internet, write resumes and cover letters, and seek out other job search assistance, Burk said.

Similar services are also available to dislocated workers at no cost through the federally funded Job Training Partnership Act.

"The purpose of JTPA is for you to get a job," dislocated workers specialist Frank Reidelbach told the crowd.

The layoffs and closing of the plant at Fort Littleton, Pa., is part of JLG's restructuring plan designed to get back on track for fiscal year 1998 after its earnings-per-share for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 1997 were below previous expectations.

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