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McDonnell focuses on jobs during visit to Martinsville

April 26, 2010
  • McDonnell said he wanted the former employees to know that he cares about their situation, and the state will do what it can to help.
McDonnell said he wanted the former employees to know that he cares about their situation, and the state will do what it can to help.

Governor Bob McDonnell says the loss of jobs in Southside is heartbreaking, and Monday he met with former employees from American of Martinsville, a plant that shut down unexpectedly almost two weeks ago.

He said he wanted the former employees to know that he cares about their situation, and the state will do what it can to help. 

McDonnell also celebrated the expansion at Monogram Foods.  The Governor presented a ceremonial check for $2 million from the Virginia Small Business Finance Authority, one the company has already used to fuel a major expansion.

"This is exactly what the government ought to be doing, and I think we're going to get a great return seeing them create new opportunities," said McDonnell.

"We have the workforce. We have the land. With the government we can get a little more capital to go along with what we're putting in and we're in a growth segment, so we're optimistic," said Karl Schledwitz, CEO of Monogram Food Solutions.

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McDonnell's visit also included a meeting with former employees from American of Martinsville, a company that ceased operations two weeks ago.

McDonnell said the loss of more than 200 jobs there is heartbreaking, and that the state will do what it can to speed unemployment benefits, and other assistance.

Here is the full news release:

Governor McDonnell Focuses on Jobs in Visit to Martinsville

Holds Meeting with Workers Recently Laid Off from American of Martinsville

--Presents Small Business Loan Check to New Local Employer Monogram Foods --

MARTINSVILLE- Governor Bob McDonnell traveled to Martinsville today to visit personally with workers recently laid-off from American of Martinsville and to formally present a loan check from the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority to Monogram Snacks. The loan provided by the VSBFA has enabled the company to expand its operations and create an additional 110 jobs.  Governor McDonnell pledged during the 2009 campaign that during their Administration either he or Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling would be on the ground in economically-distressed Southern Virginia once every thirty days. This marks the 8th visit by the Governor or Lieutenant Governor since January. Lieutenant Governor Bolling will return to Southern Virginia on Wednesday  

Speaking about the visit with former American of Martinsville workers, Governor McDonnell remarked, "The closing of the American of Martinsville operation is another difficult blow for a region that has suffered from one of the consistently highest unemployment rates in the state over the last decade. For the men and women who lost their jobs at American, this is a devastating occurrence. I wanted to be on the ground and meeting with them as quickly as possible. The workers going through this tough period deserve all the assistance we can offer. I have directed all relevant state agencies to help them gain access to job assistance and counseling programs, tuition for job training and relocation assistance.  This Administration will be there for Virginians who are laid off in this tough economy. We are committed to helping these great workers find the new jobs they need and deserve."      

Governor McDonnell continued, "One company creating new jobs in Martinsville is Monogram Foods. Not long ago, many feared that another major employer in the area would be shutting its doors as well. When American Food Group announced plans to close its manufacturing facility, 130 jobs were on the line. Thankfully Monogram Food Solutions of Memphis stepped up to buy the facility and its equipment. The Virginia Small Business Financing Authority, and leaders in the region, helped make the purchase possible. That purchase saved the 130 jobs that were at risk, and Monogram has since added 110 more.  This is the kind of economic success story we need more of here in Southern Virginia.  I'd like to especially thank the economic development staff from the Martinsville/Henry County Economic Development Corporation, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance who have worked with the company throughout the last year to ensure that Monogram's newest manufacturing facility would be located here in Virginia.  The Martinsville/Henry County area and its residents have found a wonderful corporate partner in Monogram, and we look forward to a long and successful business relationship."

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