WISCONSIN RAPIDS – The City of Wisconsin Rapids is working with key partners and organizations to address the immediate and long-term impacts of Verso Corporation’s plan to idle operations at their Wisconsin Rapids mill.
The City is in ongoing communication with mill management, Senator Patrick Testin’s office, Representative Scott Krug’s office, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), the North Central Workforce Development Board (NCWWDB) and the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. Mayor Shane Blaser and Director of Community Development, Kyle Kearns, are working on the local response effort, which includes coordinating resources and strategizing economic development opportunities.
NCWWDB’s Dislocated Worker-Rapid Response team is coordinating next steps for impacted workers and will convene a virtual “community response team” meeting, including City officials, in the near future. The Dislocated Worker program offers a comprehensive array of services, including job search and placement assistance, basic skills development, resume and interviewing skills development, and short-term and long-term training assistance. All of these services, including education and training, are provided at no cost to eligible participants.
Testin and Krug are organizing a bipartisan task force of concerned public officials at the local, state and federal level, community organizations, and industry representatives to help the community rebound. Mayor Blaser is pleased to join the task force.
The Mayor’s Office is also responding to all resident inquiries and suggestions received, as transparency, advocacy and encouragement are key to any forward-looking strategies.
“While there are still questions about what this will mean for the future of the paper mill, it is clear that this is an unfortunate development for our community,” said Mayor Blaser. “Please know that I will do everything in my power to soften the impact and support State efforts to ease the transition. Doing everything in my power to secure a vibrant future for our community is my priority.”
“The mill has served as the backbone of the community and has supported many businesses and families for generations.” said Kyle Kearns, Director of Community Development. “The pride and dedication shown by residents employed or in connection to the mill throughout these generations are what will ensure the community can overcome this unfortunate event. The City has become more resilient with time, by investing in its citizens, infrastructure and industry. While the news is a devastating blow to the community, Wisconsin Rapids has transformed and positioned itself to better respond to adversity.”
For more economic development inquiries and suggestions, please contact Director of Community Development Kyle Kearns at firstname.lastname@example.org. For media inquiries or general questions, please contact the Mayor’s Office at email@example.com.