TEVA moving forward with plans to close Bedford County plant

Published: Jan. 2, 2020 at 5:19 PM EST
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With cars in the parking lot and steam rising from exhaust pipes, there are still signs of life at the TEVA pharmaceuticals plant in Forest, but there are indications the facility may be shut down within the next six months.

In October, TEVA filed a "warn notice" with the Virginia Employment Commission, indicating it plans to lay off 220 people. That action automatically made workers eligible for services through Virginia Career Works.

"The ultimate goal is to get them employed as soon as possible," said Keith Cook, a workforce operator for Virginia Career Works.

TEVA is one of the Lynchburg area's largest manufacturers, employing highly-skilled workers.

"Some of (the jobs) are more high-end production, quality improvement, manufacturing-type jobs," Cook explained.

Because of the skills and training needed for those positions, Cook said TEVA offers better pay than many other employers in the Lynchburg region.

For that reason some workers may have to leave the area to find work.

"There are some pretty significant wages for people who have advanced degrees, and they've had to maybe go elsewhere, but people are absolutely finding local employment," Cook said.

TEVA has informed government officials that it plans to move some of the jobs currently based in Forest to overseas locations such as Israel. For that reason certain workers who find jobs in the Lynchburg area paying less than what they previously made at TEVA could qualify for wage subsidies.

Cook said regional workforce leaders are working to share that information with impacted workers.

"There's all kinds of support and additional services, like training and wage subsidies, that they might not even be aware of," Cook said.

When contacted by WDBJ7 Thursday, TEVA did not respond to questions regarding the future of its Bedford County facility. Sources who work in economic development in the Lynchburg area tell WDBJ7 they're still working aggressively to recruit a buyer for the Forest plant.

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