Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Ever since the announcements about Pyramid Mountain Lumber Company in Seeley Lake and the Roseburg Particle Board Plant closure, the State of Montana has been working to find ways to assist displaced workers in those industries.

I spoke with Montana Department of Labor and Industry Director of Communications Sam Loveridge about what steps have been taken since the closures were announced.

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“In the coming months, it's possible that 250 very skilled and motivated workers in the lumber industry may lose their jobs,” began Loveridge. “Obviously these closures are the result at least that's what they've mentioned during the conversations after, as you know, lowering wood costs, increased inflation, and worker shortages, so these industries are clearly struggling in western Montana.”

Loveridge was excited to share a new tool developed by the Department of Labor and Industry to help displaced workers find new opportunities.

Loveridge Introduced the Career Matching Tool

“One of the coolest things that we have is our career-matching tool,” he said. “Basically, our economists put this together, and they're very good at what they do. They look at all the different positions at these lumber mills. And they look at what the skills are to have those jobs, and then they compare those skills to other jobs outside of the lumber industry.”

He provided just one example of how the career-matching tool might help a displaced worker.

“Take, for instance, a log grader,” he said. “Those skills and that salary match really closely with something like a transportation inspector or a railroad conductor. Our goal on this is to be able to help these employees find jobs in their community that match up with the very important skills they've learned over the years and maybe even decades in the timber industry.”

Loveridge detailed just some of the ways that the state’s Department of Labor and Industry can help those who have been or face being laid off.

There are 17 Job Services Offices across the State to Help Workers

“We actually have 17 jobs service field offices across the state, including multiple offices in western Montana,” he said. “Not only can we assist workers, whether they're brand new to the workforce or they've been around for a long time, or they're looking to upskill; we can help them find jobs and can also help them write resumes. We are also putting on job fairs specifically for these workers when the time comes.”

Get details on the closest Job Service location here.

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