KINGWOOD, W.Va. A resource fair is planned Tuesday at Kingwood Christian Fellowship on State Route 7 from 10 a.m. to noon and in the afternoon from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. for displaced Allegheny Wood Products (AWP) workers.

The Grant County-based business abruptly closed after failed attempts to either sell the 50-year-old company or bring investors on board to provide operating capital. The closure put up to 650 workers and another 200 contractors out of work overnight.

On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” executive director of the Preston County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA), Roberta Baylor, said the resource fair is the first step in an attempt to bring stability back to those families.

“That’s a great first step; hopefully our second step will be to hold a job fair for these people,” Baylor said. “We don’t have anything firm on that yet, but we hope something is coming really soon.”

AWP had a 50-year history in the state and operated two locations in Preston County: a sawmill in Kingwood and a kiln operation in Bruceton Mills. The company was also a material supplier to AHF Products Manufacturing, a national manufacturer of hard surface floors.

“Preston has two facilities, one in Kingwood and one in Bruceton Mills,” Baylor said. “The Kingwood number was probably between 75 and 100, and the Bruceton Mills number was probably around 50.”

On Tuesday, members of the WorkForce West Virginia Rapid Response Team will come to Kingwood to meet with the workers. The information available Tuesday will hopefully be the next step in replacing lost income.

“Help them with job opportunities, employment insurance benefits, unemployment, retirement planning, education and training that’s available, and different community resources,” Baylor said.

Baylor said several companies, but not all in Preston County, are in need of workers and have reached out to them. That information is being organized by the PCEDA and is available on request by calling 304-329-2299.

“We are compiling a list in our office, and if people want to contact us directly for information on who has reached out to us, we would be more than happy to give that information to them,” Baylor said.

Recycler, Bionic Tire is expected to open a facility this year in the Valley Industrial Park that will employ up to 50 people at full operation. The company makes a wide variety of products from the recycled steel and rubber taken from tires while eliminating discarded tires.

“They will be under construction in a month or so and hopefully operational by the third or fourth quarter of this year,” Baylor said. “There are a lot of good jobs with great benefits for Preston County people.”