WHITING (WAOW) -- Layoffs began late last week at the NewPage mill in Whiting. Since word of the mill's closure, local groups and agencies have been getting resources ready to help the hundreds of displaced workers.
According to local leaders, by the end of the week, nearly a third of the workers at the Whiting Mill will be out of work. And leaders with the Catholic Charities Group in Stevens Point want them to know there's a place to turn for help.
"We do have gas vouchers available for people who need to go to job interviews," explained Jennifer Woyak.
Also, Woyak said they provide some tips on how to manage your money on a tighter budget.
"A certified counselor will meet with you initially for free," she said. "They'll help you with budgets and see where you need to save money."
Local and state officials are also banding together. They formed a planning group, spearheaded by Portage County Executive Patty Dreier.
"We're trying to gather the story as it unfolds here and, at the same time, we're trying to prepare career-based resources for folks when they are ready to connect with them."
About 40 people were laid off last Friday. Dreier said another 70 to 100 layoffs are slated for this Friday. It's a tough time. That's why the group is working on a new Transition Center, coming soon in Plover.
"They'll be able to do job searches, get help, get counseling, and get connected to resources," Dreier explained.
While nothing can lessen the sting of losing a job, both groups know any little bit can be helpful.
"You may not be able to change that this is going to happen. It is what it is," Dreier commented. "But what can we do to turn it into an opportunity for Portage County and central Wisconsin? I guess that's the long-term goal."
The group is also working with NewPage officials to try and find a new use for the mill property.
For more information on the Catholic Charities resources, click here.
To learn more about what the Portage County planning group has to offer, click here.