WILTON — The Board of Selectmen held an emergency meeting Wednesday to discuss ways to assist those affected by the loss of the town’s largest employer, Barclaycard US.

The company announced Tuesday it will close its Wilton call center March 31, leaving 227 people without jobs.

Barclaycard US, operated by UK-based Barclays Bank, is a credit card and payment services provider and one of Franklin County’s largest employers.

Barclaycard opened its Wilton call center on Weld Road in 2008, and added hundreds of jobs in its first six years.

In 2015, it completed a $5 million expansion, allowing the business to employ nearly 500 workers. L.L.Bean in July dropped Barclays US as the vendor for its branded credit card, switching to Citibank.

Wednesday’s meeting included representatives from the Maine Department of Labor, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development and of Gov. Janet. Mills, U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, all of whom offered support for the local workers.

Judith Pelletier, the program manager for the Department of Labor’s rapid response team, said she had been in contact with the company.

“We will go on site to explain about unemployment, CareerCenter services, options for health insurance and other available resources,” Pelletier said. “Health insurance is usually a very large concern of folks getting laid off, especially if they carried a pretty good policy.”

She said Consumers for Affordable Healthcare would assist with workshops to help employees understand the Affordable Care Act and the processes of buying private health insurance or COBRA insurance.

Pelletier said a survey will be distributed to Barclaycard US employees to help the Department of Labor identify and develop workshops to address specific needs of employees.

Several employers have expressed interest in hiring Barclaycard US workers, Pelletier said, and a job fair is planned for the near future.

Pelletier said the Department of Labor will meet with the Community Transition Team at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Wilton CareerCenter.

The team comprises local organizations, including Western Maine Community Action, the Greater Franklin Development Council, United Way of the Tri-Valley Area and adult education programs.

“They have a tremendous amount of high-quality employees,” state Sen. Russell Black of Wilton said. “I am curious if there is going to be any effort to keep that unit together before we farm those workers out and lose the quality of the workforce.”

Added Diane Jackson of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development: “Maine & Company, an entity that provides business retention and attraction, has this particular facility on its radar. We want to make sure we are putting our best foot forward for the facility itself because this is a state-of-the-art facility.”

[email protected]

 


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under:

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.