WESTERNPORT, MARYLAND — What’s next is the main question hundreds of workers from Verso Corporation’s Luke Mill were hoping to have answered during a job fair held in Westernport, Maryland.

Doug Ravenscroft, a mill worker, said he was with the mill for 19 years and appreciated the outreach.

“Everybody is holding out hope that maybe somebody will come along and scoop it up to, but everybody knows they need to do stuff like this right here to try and secure their future,” he said on Tuesday.

Last month, Verso Corporation announced its plans to permanently close its Luke Mill putting 675 people out of work in a region that includes parts of West Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Most of the job eliminations were scheduled to take effect before the end of May.

Logan Kitzmiller, a mill worker, said emotions were running high.

“I am third generation in my family to work at this mill and, even more than the economic concerns, it is more of an emotional blow, I guess, to all of us because you have a lot of families that are represented here through generations,” Kitzmiller said.

“You can kind of see the stages of grief played out — kind of shock and disbelief and, I guess, disappointment, but I am really proud of our people keeping their nose to the grindstone.”

Local, state and federal officials along with regional businesses and agencies from Maryland and West Virginia participated in the job fair at the Bruce Outreach Center.

Members of the Maryland Food Bank were also handing out groceries.

Officials said they would continue to put together job fairs and resource events to assist all those impacted by the closure of the Luke Mill.

More information was available at www.workforceallegany.com.

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