MORGANTOWN — With no new announcements to salvage their jobs, Mylan employees are looking for work.
The closing of Mylan Pharmaceutical’s Morgantown plant is scheduled to be complete by July 31, leaving 1,500 people jobless.
In response to the layoff, area organizations have rallied to assist job seekers. On Thursday, Morgantown Area Partnership, along with the Center for Career Development at West Virginia University, and Forge, a local business strategy firm, hosted a job fair at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place.
“In May 2018, Mylan laid off 488 people,” said Frank Vitale, president and CEO of Forge. “I thought the community should respond and help those people find jobs. Well, a couple years later, here we are—the plant is unfortunately closing, and nearly 1,500 people are losing their jobs.”
In his role as chair of the Workforce Development Committee for MAP, Vitale knew where to go for partners. With the combined forces of WVU’s career center, MAP and Forge, the plan for a job fair was launched.
“It’s a traumatic time for many of these folks,” Vitale said. “Some are reluctant to ask for help, but we’re here for those who want it.”
Sixty companies participated in the job fair, including out-of-state firms such as Granules Pharmaceuticals and several local health care organizations. Among health care companies represented were Acuity Healthcare, Mon Health Medical Center, WVU Medicine and Fresenius Medical Care.
“We have nursing positions, clinic manager positions, and patient care technicians who we train on the job,” said Janie Jennelle, a Fresenius renal dietician.
Fresenius, known primarily for its kidney dialysis services, continues to expand its services as a result of the increasing numbers of people living with diabetes and hypertension.
Job fair attendees were particularly interested in Fresenius’ available positions, said David Ferguson, director of operations. “We ran out of business cards some time ago,” he said.
As with many of the vendors, Fresenius offered a number of freebies such as pens, sticky note pads, and unique kidney shaped stress balls.
Perhaps one of the cleverest freebies was from Fairmont State University’s career services center. Tiny books with Fairmont State’s logo were available to attendees. Book lovers would surely be tempted to help themselves. Inside the covers were pads of sticky notes.
Susan Rodriguez, director of career services at Fairmont State University, explained a service that’s being offered to displaced Mylan employees.
“We have software that can help these displaced employees,” she said. “They can scan or upload their resume, and it gives them a score.”
The score indicates the effectiveness of resumes. Then, if needed, the staff at the career center can assist with writing or rewriting resumes as well as cover letters.
“We also help them get set up on LinkedIn,” Rodriguez said. “And we can get them set up with key-word searches on Indeed and Monster, and to get alerts on jobs with those key words.”
The software, Hiration, is free to college students but Rodriguez arranged to make it free to the public for three months, a timeframe deemed appropriate for Mylan employees searching for work.
Many companies are hiring people without previous work experience, including Sodexo, representing WVU dining services.
“We have lots of entry-level positions,” said Tiffany Peden, Sodexo’s human resources manager. “We employ all the chefs, cooks and food service workers on WVU’s campus.
“We employ baristas at Starbucks and everyone in the dining halls and the retail restaurant locations. We have a brand new location called the Market at University Place, and we have some new locations that we’re constructing this summer. And they’re all on campus.”
For information about companies that participated in Thursday’s job fair, contact the Morgantown Area Partnership at 304-292-3311; the Center for Career Development at West Virginia University at 304-293-2221; or Forge at 304-777-2248.