Employers seek displaced workers as Chattanooga-area jobless rate remains lower than most of the country

Staff file photo / The Resolute Forest Products plant in Calhoun, Tenn., is cutting 350 jobs after ending its paper and pulp production. Job fairs this week offered new opportunities for many displaced workers.

After manufacturing paper products for nearly 68 years, the Resolute Forest Products plant in Charleston, Tennessee, produced its last pulp and paper products on Jan. 13, and those employed in the paper operations have spent most of the past two weeks cleaning up the idled assets.

On Wednesday and Thursday, many of the 350 workers about to lose their jobs looked at a new job future by participating in job fairs at the Resolute site where other employers in the area came eager to hire the displaced workers.

"We have 60 job openings right now, and we hope to be able to fill them with many of those being laid off at Resolute," Ken Collins, the site director at the nearby Wacker polysilicon plant in Charleston, said during an interview Thursday.