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Wooster Leaders Stay Optimistic As Worthington Industries Closes Plant

Worthington Industries

Worthington Industries, which makes equipment for the oil and natural gas industry, is closing its Wooster plant. The company announced Tuesday that the facility’s last day of operation will be at the end of May.

More than half of the 122 employees losing their jobs will be able to transfer to another facility two hours away in Fairfield County.

Justin Starlin, president of the Wooster Chamber of Commerce, says that in an ironic way, the loss could be a good thing for the larger business community, as demand for skilled workers is high.

"You hate to see anyone lose their job, but the truth is we probably have the strongest economy we've had in 30-plus years," Starlin says. "The displacement of workers - we really think there's an opportunity for employers in town to fill those vacancies."

Starlin adds that the city of about 25,000 people hasn't been hit as hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

"Wooster actually, over the last 10 years, has grown in manufacturing. We consider it king here. A lot is automotive, and a lot is still in oil and gas," Starlin says. 

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.