Monday, November 02, 1998
Loan Deferrals, Job Training for Ontonagon's Largest EmployerGovernor John Engler today announced a package of state assistance to help Stone Container Corp. continue operations in Ontonagon. The package is designed to preserve up to 276 jobs at Stone Container's Ontonagon mill. Stone Container is Ontonagon County's largest employer, according to the 1998 Harris Industrial Directory. "I've always felt that the state can work in creative ways to preserve good jobs," Engler said. "Stone Container, and the people who work there, are major contributors to Ontonagon's economy, and they are worth fighting for." The package announced by Engler today includes support for four years deferred payment of a $1.25 million loan between the company and the Michigan Department of Transportation. In addition, the Michigan Jobs Commission will offer job training worth up to $248,400 for the 276 existing employees, in an effort to improve mill efficiencies. The mill is a major client of Escanaba & Lake Superior Railroad, which could face operational difficulty if Stone Container closes. The Michigan Jobs Commission is also seeking to defer by four years repayment of a loan to the railroad worth just over $2 million, allowing the railroad to pass on significant savings in shipping costs to Stone Container. "Here we've got a chance to help save the county's largest employer. I've been working to make sure that good jobs are available to all Michigan residents for the last eight years," Engler said "That's why we've created a Renaissance Zone in Ontonagon County and why I'm working so hard to keep Stone Container right in town, where it belongs. I'm very optimistic that this package will keep these jobs in Ontonagon."