CANTON, N.C. — More than a thousand people are looking for jobs after the impending closure of the Pactiv Evergreen paper mill in Canton.


What You Need To Know

Pactiv Evergreen announced its paper mill closure in Canton on March 6

About 1,100 employees in the region will be impacted

A second job fair will be at WNC Agricultural Center on March 23


For 25 years, Tommy Long has worked at the Canton paper mill.

“You know, when you work at a place this long, you become family. You know, with a lot of my coworkers, I spend more time with them than I do at home. We’ve shared each other’s victories in life and saw our kids grow up together,” Long said.

The bond between Long and his coworkers will last, but after more than a century, the Pactiv Evergreen paper mill is closing down.

“Naturally, it was a shock to everybody. Kind of came as a shot out of the dark or out of the blue,” Long said.

While some of the shock has settled, Long must quickly pivot to figuring out what’s next. Not only was he a mill worker, he also works as a Haywood County commissioner.

“I have been busy working with the county commission on trying to take care of our displaced workers, and I’m trying to get all of that set up. I’ve been busy doing that, and there are a lot of opportunities for our workers,” Long said.

There is hope. Local leaders say there are over 1,000 manufacturing jobs available in the area for those laid-off workers. As a community, Long says they’re leaning on faith for the future.

“God did not get unemployed last Monday. God did not shut down. He is close and he’s always here for us,” Long said.

Gov. Roy Cooper wrote a letter to Pactiv Evergreen CEO Mike King urging the company to keep the paper mill open on March 16. 

Pinnacle Church hosted a job fair with 70 employers this week. On March 23, there’s another job fair at the Western North Carolina Agricultural Center in Fletcher from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.