"Masco's devastating news may have shaken
 this community, but we're going to fight to
 keep these jobs right here in Pike County."
    - Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland

COLUMBUS, OH – Gov. Ted Strickland pledged to find a buyer for the two Mill’s Pride cabinet factories that Masco Corp. announced will close in the first quarter of 2011.

Strickland and Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel joined state and local officials to announce the formation of an economic development task force to help address economic development and workforce issues associated with the closure of two Mill’s Pride facilities in Pike County.

The announcement was made after a meeting convened by Director Patt-McDaniel in Waverly, which was attended by Waverly Mayor Dale Reed, Pike County Commissioners Blaine Beekman, Harry Rider and Teddy West, as well as other state and local leaders and elected officials.

Mill’s Pride's parent company, Masco Corp., announced Tuesday it would close plants in Waverly and Seal Township next year, impacting more than 1,200 workers in Pike County and several surrounding counties.

"Masco's devastating news may have shaken this community, but we're going to fight to keep these jobs right here in Pike County," Strickland said. "We are working aggressively with the local community to find a company that will be interested in continuing to employ the hard-working men and women who have built their lives around this facility. But I also want the workers and their families to know that we are going to do everything we can to ensure them the kind of assistance they may need in the coming weeks and months."

Strickland also informed U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis about the “devastating effect plant closures would have on the local community” and initiating a discussion about how the federal government can be a productive partner in the effort to save these jobs.

"The Pike County commissioners appreciate the interest and concern of our neighboring counties and especially appreciate the immediate attention of the state of Ohio and the Ohio Department of Development," said Commission Chairman Harry Rider. "We are pleased with the formation of this task force, and in particular want to ensure that the employees are made a priority."

The task force's primary focus is to address job retention, workforce development and potential buyers for the Masco plants. In addition, one of the top priorities of the task force is to help displaced workers find new jobs leading up to and following the closures.

"We are extremely disappointed by the company's announcement and will work diligently with community leaders to find a buyer for the company's facility, allowing operations to remain in Pike County and keep the workforce employed," Patt-McDaniel said.

A rapid response team from the State of Ohio will be in Pike County this week to assist the company's workforce in pursuing all services available. State officials are actively engaged with the company to identify a buyer for these well-equipped plants. Finding a buyer is a top priority for the state as it looks to stop or minimize job loss.

Read news item about Masco's plans to close the plants.

Read Editor at Large Rich Christianson's blog about Mill's Pride. 

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.