Wood-Mode closure adds jobs at state's CareerLink
KREAMER, Penn. - The Wood-Mode closure, in which 938 employees suddenly were out of a job, has led to four new CareerLink staff. 
The displaced workers have been visiting the CareerLink office regularly since the May closure, the Daily Item reported. Some are coming in weekly. Some are even coming in daily.
CareerLink wasn't prepared to handle the increased number of visits, so it added a workshop instructor, career coach, job developer, and business coordinator, said the Daily Item. Staff is helping the former employees obtain unemployment benefits, build their resume, and assist with their job search. It's also providing computer skills training and other workshops.
Wood-Mode's 938 employees were shocked when they were suddenly out of a job. They were informed through a letter, hand-delivered to employees as they arrived to work, that said the company had been "seeking financing and other alternatives, including new capital and a possible sale transaction that would have enabled it to continue operations." That transaction fell through.
The news shook the industry - launching lawsuits from former employees, leaving dealers around the country in a state of limbo - and frustration mounted. The county struggled to find work for the displaced employees and dealers voiced their disappointment in the company's lack of communication.
Bill French, the owner of modular home builder Professional Building Systems, has signed an agreement to purchase the assets of Wood-Mode. French plans to reach out to all 938 laid-off Wood-Mode employees for potential employment. Plans are to start small - hiring just a few employees at a time - and eventually hire between 200 and 500 workers.
Some have been hired by nearby industry firms, including Apex Homes, which hired seven and is looking to hire 30. About 20 have told CareerLink they'd like to find a job in a different industry. 
Dealers were hit hard after the closure. Two employees filed lawsuits against the company, saying it failed to provide the required 60-day termination notice.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected].