Local officials work to help IP workers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2003

In the weeks since International Paper announced plans to close its Natchez mill by mid-year, the city has received help from several outside sources, including state and federal channels.

But local officials have also stepped forward to pool their efforts toward helping IP employees and toward helping the economy in general.

County leaders and Natchez-Adams County Economic Development Authority Director Mike Ferdinand just returned from a trip to Washington, where they lobbied for support to help find a buyer for the IP mill.

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While we think it’s admittedly a long shot to find a buyer when you consider IP was unable for the past three years, we’re glad to see officials have not given up hope. With the right incentives and connections, we might get lucky.

In the meantime, though, officials are working on other contingency plans. A group of leaders has met with officials from U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering’s office to discuss workforce training and other benefits for IP workers.

And the Natchez-Adams Chamber of Commerce announced this week it is sponsoring an upcoming job fair to help displaced workers.

While out-of-town employers are likely to take part, we hope all area businesses that are looking for employees will take part in the job fair. While we don’t have a large employer looking for 100 jobs, we do have a number of small companies that might need to fill positions. Once you gather all of them in one room, it can make a difference.

While we want them to find employment regardless, keeping our IP employees in Natchez should be a top priority for all of us.