Idled plant, staff draw interest

If there is good news following last week’s closing of the Callaway golf ball plant, it is the appar

If there is good news following last week’s closing of the Callaway golf ball plant, it is the apparent interest in both the building and the 118 employees who lost their jobs, officials said Wednesday.

Gail Breen of the state Labor Department, executive director of the Fulton-Montgomery-Schoharie Workforce Development Board, said a number of area companies have expressed interest in hiring the Callaway workers because of their demonstrated work ethic and experience levels.

In cooperation with Callaway, Breen’s agency began working with employees in the plant break room soon after the company announced in late May that it would close the Gloversville facility and move those operations to China.

As a result, Breen said, a number of Callaway workers reported to new jobs right after the golf ball factory shut down on July 31.

An estimated 90 Callaway employees attended a July 10 job fair held at the factory, Breen said. About 30 entities, including employers and training agencies, met with employees.

Through Breen’s agency, other employees are working on résumés, exploring training opportunities and being screened for eligibility for benefits under the Foreign Trade Act program. Among other perks of the program, eligible employees become attractive to prospective employers who will be reimbursed for up to 50 percent of wages during job retraining, Breen said.

“We always like to talk about our success stories, and we really feel the Callaway employees are going to be a success story,” she said.

Callaway spokeswoman Michele Szynal said the 64,000-square-foot plant, opened by Spalding in 1989, was closed up Aug. 1. She said the employees were given severance packages but declined to discuss the terms of that benefit.

Meanwhile, she confirmed that Callaway has received inquiries on the plant from three or four parties.

Jeff Bray, executive vice president of the Fulton County Economic Development Corp., said Wednesday that his office is working with one entity with a strong interest in acquiring the plant.

Bray declined to discuss the business specialty of that company but said the Callaway plant is desirable because of its design and many features.

He said the plant is set up to streamline production and has enhanced power capability to handle the extensive use of robotics in manufacturing golf balls.

Bray, whose agency works with a variety of area companies, said he is also aware that there is widespread interest in Callaway employees, whom he described as a “long-tenured, stable work force.”

Categories: Schenectady County

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