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Job fair to help ex-Grove employees

January 10, 2001

Job fair to help ex-Grove employees



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


SHADY GROVE, Pa. - In three months late last year, cost-reduction moves at Grove Worldwide cost 500 employees their jobs and created an influx of qualified workers looking for work.

The layoffs were made across the board, from production workers and office workers to their bosses.

At the same time, jobs are going begging in Franklin County, Pa., and in the nearby Tri-State area as well, according to area employers who can't find qualified workers.

Now Career Link, an all-inclusive employment services center that is a consortium of public and private employment and social service agencies in Chambersburg, is stepping in to hold one of the biggest job fairs in Franklin County's history.

It's goal is to find jobs for the out-of-work Grove employees and other area residents.

"It's our job to connect job seekers with employers," said E. David Bumbaugh, deputy director of the nonprofit Southcentral Employment Corp., one of 11 agencies making up Career Link.

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Grove Worldwide has established the Grove Transition Team to work with Career Link in setting up the 2001 Tri-State Job Fair. It will be held Feb. 1 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the all-purpose room at St. Paul's United Methodist Church at 750 Norland Ave.

Last week, letters were sent to Tri-State area employers informing them of the job fair. Participating companies will pay $100 for space at the fair, plus another $25 if they want an electrical hook-up, Bumbaugh said.

L. Michael Ross, executive director of the Franklin County Area Development Authority, said the morning session will give Tri-State area employers a chance to interview displaced Grove workers exclusively.

"They have the skills - welding, machinists, administrative - that employers are looking for," Ross said. The afternoon session will be open to the public, he said.

Ross said the job fair is being extended to the Tri-State area, not just Franklin County, because the area enjoys a regional economy linked by Interstates 70 and 81.

He said Franklin County residents looking for work see Washington and Frederick counties in Maryland and West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle as an easy commute.

Ross touched on the issue of wages because Grove is one of the better-paying area employers, with average wages of $10 to $15 an hour or more.

"This is a tight labor market and wages are elevating," he said. Employers looking for the right skills, work ethic and employability have to consider that when setting salaries, he said.

"They have to follow the dictates of the market," he said. "All we can do is create the environment for a labor exchange to take place. If a job seeker doesn't feel the job meets his salary requirements he has to pass on it, but it's up to him."

Among the 500 workers who lost jobs at Grove from September through November were 90 assembly workers, 38 general welders, 37 production welders, 30 helpers, 13 inspectors, seven senior district managers, nine with managerial positions, 20 with supervisory positions, and planners.

Others included engineers, technicians, designers, material handlers, lab workers, painters, machinists, drivers, mechanics, an occupational nurse, carpenters, machine operators, maintenance, administrative and clerical and marketing positions and a sous chef, according to a release announcing the job fair.

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