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Local government starts outplacement efforts for displaced Sea Ray workers

Flagler County officials have started job recruiting efforts for workers who will be displaced after the Sea Ray Palm Coast facility shuts down. Brunswick Corp. announced last week that it would be shuttering the plant as it ceases production of its sport yacht and yacht models.

The county’s Department of Economic Opportunity created a micro-site, with available jobs, attached to its official website. “We have reached out to local businesses to post job listings, and we’ll actively market that we have this talented workforce,” Helga van Eckert, executive director of the agency, told the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Van Eckert said the plant closure will be the largest layoff the county has experienced for years. “We’ve not had this significant of a reduction in a long time,” she said.

County officials are planning a job fair for July 13, and other area boatbuilders continue to advertise for skilled workers. Dan Kubera, Brunswick spokesman, told the paper that Boston Whaler officials will visit the plant this month to speak with Sea Ray workers about possible jobs at its facility in Edgewater, Fla.

Kubera said the company would not address rumors that the facility will shut down in late August. “We are not publicly commenting on dates at this time, as they may vary according to what staffs and skills are needed to complete the work on hand, as well as fully wind down operations,” Kubera told the paper. “We have developed a detailed plan to wind down operations, and we will work hard to maintain that schedule to help our employees plan for transition.”

Jayne Fifer, president of VMA Manufacturer’s Alliance, told the paper that when the pending shutdown became public, her phone began to ring. “There is such a skilled labor shortage — we are ready to welcome these people with open arms,” she said. “We have put together a job list of all of our members who have job openings. My manufacturers are calling me wanting first dibs.”

Van Eckert said she has also received inquiries about the facility. “The first day, I had a boatmaker from California reach out to me,” she said, adding that the unnamed builder was interested in the factory but not the workers. “We’ll also actively market the availability of the facility,” van Eckert said.

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