When textile plant closes, Screven County will miss jobs it provided

Published: Jul. 13, 2022 at 4:17 PM EDT
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SYLVANIA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - When a local textile plant closes down, the community will miss the 250 jobs it provides.

Milliken said it will consolidate production from the Longleaf plant in Screven County to the Magnolia plant in Cherokee County, S.C.

The company said the change will “enhance operational efficiencies and increase production capacity.”

It’s the county’s second-largest private employer.

“So it’s certainly a huge loss to our community,” said Dorie Bacon, with the Screven County Development Authority.

The company projects it will close the plant in January.

Bacon says her agency will work to bring other industries here that could hire from Milliken’s staff.

“Us, and our existing industrial partners in the region, are committed to finding them good jobs in the future,” she said.

She says the agency will try to get workers retrained for new careers.

She also says her agency will continue to work with Milliken as long as it’s in operation in Screven County.

The phase-out timeline includes offering continued employment opportunities at other Milliken locations to the roughly 250 associates at the Screven County plant.

For those who do not want to transfer, the company has engaged local staffing partners to help connect associates with competitive jobs in the immediate area.

Because of the Longleaf plant’s permit to discharge treated industrial effluent into the Ogeechee River, the nonprofit Ogeechee Riverkeeper said it considers the closure to be an overall positive step.

But the riverkeeper acknowledged the impact on the local economy.

“We know this will be a difficult time for the families affected, so we are pleased to hear that Milliken will be offering assistance to them and to the community,” Damon Mullis, executive director.

“It is with mixed emotions that we receive this news, recognizing the long term benefits to the river while acknowledging the social and economic impacts to the community,” Mullis said.

Milliken said it will retain and maintain the Longleaf property in Screven County for the foreseeable future and explore how to ensure its Longleaf campus contributes to the ongoing well-being of the community for generations to come.

The Longleaf Plant currently manufactures finished goods textiles, including engineered flame-resistant textiles, for workwear use. During the transition to Magnolia Plant, customer orders will be fulfilled with no anticipated inventory or external process changes. All other production lines at the Magnolia Plant will continue operations.

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