W-O-W hosts job fair for Golden Guernsey workers

The Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board hosted a job fair Friday for workers displaced when the Golden Guernsey dairy processing facility in Waukesha closed suddenly this month.

Several companies, including meat processing company Patrick Cudahy Inc. in Cudahy, contacted W-O-W about hiring the workers after the plant was shuttered without warning on January 5.

OpenGate Capital LLC, the Los Angeles private equity firm that owned Golden Guernsey said it was unable to reduce expenses enough to achieve financial viability after it acquired the business from Dean Foods in 2011. Golden Guernsey has filed for bankruptcy.

Last week, W-O-W held rapid response sessions to talk about job opportunities and resources available to the former Golden Guernsey employees.

About 85 of the 111 displaced workers have received assistance from W-O-W since the closure, which is an unusually high rate in cases of mass layoffs, said Meghan Sprager, employer relations and marketing manager at W-O-W.

“In this instance, they have so many questions,” Sprager said. “We needed to get this group mobilized in the center and make them aware of what they have access to immediately.”

All of the displaced workers qualified for U.S. Department of Labor funding to defray their new employers’ training costs.

“It’s based on their skill sets, it’s based on their previous experience, it’s based on how much additional support they’re going to need in their new role,” Sprager said.

The funds serve as a hiring incentive for employers, she said.
At least three of the attendees accepted job offers at the fair, which was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Waukesha County Technical College.

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