Rutland plant to close

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(Host) Rutland is reeling with the news today that MetroGroup – a direct mail company that employs nearly 250 people – will close its Rutland plant in mid- December.

VPR’s Nina Keck has more.

(Keck) Every day, MetroGroup produces millions of pieces of direct mail – sometimes referred to as junk mail. While the company’s corporate website touted the fact that the Rutland Plant was within a day’s drive from one quarter of the US and half of the Canadian population – that didn’t seem to be enough to keep it open.

No one from the company’s corporate headquarters in Nebraska agreed to an interview, but in released statement the company says it will close its Rutland plant to concentrate resources in its midwest facilities in Iowa and Nebraska. The company cited the need to streamline production and delivery as well as cut postage and other costs. Tom Donahue of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce says it’s a blow for the region.

(Donahue) "It is a shock – it’s a real punch in the gut if you will. It’s tough on all of us hearing this kind of news and it’s going to be very difficult for those folks who now find themselves unemployed. And that’s a concern for all of us – that we need to rally around these people and help them find gainful employment in the area."

(Keck) Vermont’s Agency of Commerce and Community Development will provide a rapid response team to help the nearly 250 Media Group employees find new jobs. David Mace is an agency spokesman.

(Mace) "During the rapid response sessions which usually occur at the work site – officials form the department of labor will survey the employees to get a better picture of what they need in terms of resources. What skill levels they possess and where in the area they live. Also, they are provided with information on applying for various assistance and benefits that they may be entitled to."

(Keck) Larry Sudlow who works for the department of labor in Rutland says there are several companies in the area who have been looking for workers and the Christmas season is on, so he says the news is not all bad.

(Sudlow) "It’s not bleak at all. Our unemployment rate is pretty low – I think we’re down around 3.5 percent which basically means people can find jobs pretty easily."

(Keck) Tom Donahue, of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce, says in addition to helping those affected by the plant closing to find new jobs, the community will need to aggressively seek out a new tenant for the plant itself.

For VPR news, I’m Nina Keck in Rutland.

Editorial Correction: The ACCD does not mobilize the Rapid Response Team. It is handled by the Department of Labor.

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