Job fair planned to help those impacted by major Orange closures at Invista, International Paper

Published 11:09 pm Friday, November 3, 2023

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A Community Job Fair aimed at those impacted by the recent facility closures in Greater Orange is set for Nov. 9 and 10.

Lamar State College Orange is hosting the event at the Shahan Center, 209 W. Green Avenue. Job seekers are required to show proof of employment at an impacted closure to enter the job fair.

The hours for Nov. 9 are from noon to 8 p.m. and Nov. 10 is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We are working closely with representatives from the two facilities who recently announced closures in Orange County,” said Daniel Mclemore, LSCO director of marketing communications. “LSCO is hosting multiple opportunities on campus in the coming weeks to help those affected with interview coaching, resume building, Microsoft training, budget management and more.”

On Oct. 6, Invista announced it was shutting down units and would close by the end of next year. On Oct 18, International Paper announced it was shutting down the Kraft paper mill in Orange.

These closings leave hundreds of workers without jobs.

“Our hearts go out to all those affected by these recent closure announcements. Lamar State College Orange stands ready to assist affected employees or family members via our courses and programs that lead to a degree and employment throughout Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana,” Mclemore said. “We strive to be a place where hope meets opportunity, and that rings true today.”

Orange County Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Megan Layne said the upcoming job fair is exclusively for those impacted by the closures.

Layne said there are many in the community who are coming together to help, as well as get information on the corporate level that they may or may not be able to disclose.

Had local leaders known ahead of time, they could have been proactive but now must be reactive, she said.

There are a number of issues for local leaders; they are worried those who lost their jobs might relocate for work outside the community. They are worried about the trickle down impact.

International Paper is located in Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District and is one of the biggest taxpayers to the district.

Layne said she doesn’t not speak for the school district but understands IP’s taxes make up a large portion of the funding that goes into LCM’s budget.

This is similar to Invista, which is located in the West Orange-Cove Consolidated Independent School District. which will be impacted with the closure of that business and losing tax dollars.

“We have to take a holistic approach, the first is jobs lost,” Layne said, adding next comes companies and suppliers and ancillary jobs, such as trucking and logistics.

Another issue related to the job loss is the Federation for the Advancement of Manufacturing Education, the Golden Triangle FAME chapter.

“FAME is a partnership between employers and LSCO cultivating a new generation of best-in-class technicians for today’s advanced manufacturing environment,” Mclemore said. “The program has multiple business partners that operate throughout Southeast Texas. The chapter is expanding membership with several companies in the review process and others attending regular meetings to learn how they can incorporate FAME into their operations.”

International Paper is one of the core members of FAME and were hosting four interns, Layne said, adding they need to sit down and work through the logistics with these interns.

— Written by Mary Meaux