On May 16, Graphic Packaging International (GPI), a consumer products packaging company headquartered in Atlanta, Ga., announced it will be closing its Menasha plant by the end of 2016. The Regional Partnership immediately reached out to corporate leadership in Atlanta to learn more about this unexpected decision. GPI confirmed that the company plans to shut down the plant mid-November. The reason is purely economical.
In a nutshell, the Menasha plant’s technological capabilities are outdated – especially compared to the state-of-the-art infrastructure of other facilities around the U.S. and overseas that have been recently acquired by the company. Instead of investing to upgrade the Menasha plant, corporate leaders chose to close it, after 70 years of operation.
Unfortunately, there is not much our community can do to reverse the company’s decision. Our priorities at this point are twofold: The people and the building. The Regional Partnership is working with GPI’s Menasha staff and the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board (FVWDB) to promote available job opportunities in the region to the 228 affected employees – who will be laid off sometime between July and November – help them update their résumés and conduct on-site job fairs. Our team, FVWDB and GPI have all been contacted by numerous local employers who are very interested in recruiting this talent pool.
“Fox Cities Regional Partnership reached out to FVWDB in an effort to coordinate our region’s response to Graphic Packaging’s Menasha plant closing,” Paul Stelter, CEO of FVWDB, said. “Like us, FCRP is also interested in making sure that this company’s displaced workers find job opportunities within the area, where their skill sets are in high demand. We look forward to continuing to work with FCRP on this and other projects in the future.”
FCRP is also assisting the company and the City of Menasha to market the 450,000-square-fooot facility so it is occupied as soon as possible. We anticipate that the availability of this site will spark the interest of site selectors, businesses and the real estate community.
We look forward to working with these partners, and others around the region, as we try to absorb the shock of the challenging news. If you have any questions or want to help, do not hesitate to reach out to us.