Shuttle service for Simonton employees

By Brett Dunlap

Special to the Times

PARKERSBURG — A new bus service – the Simonton Shuttle – will transport people to Ritchie County starting Monday in a partnership with Simonton Windows and Doors.

Simonton, part of PlyGem Industries, is launching the partnership with the Mid Ohio Valley Transit Authority to create employment opportunities for underserved populations and provide public transit services to communities east of Parkersburg.

The transit authority, operators of Easy Rider, is financed by property tax levies in Parkersburg and Vienna and also receives federal funds.

The authority was approached by Simonton about potential employees who live in Wood County, but do not have reliable transportation.

“There are many individuals with the qualities and capabilities we seek in our associates, but are unable to commute to our plants in Ritchie County,” said Eric Benson, Human Resource Manager for Simonton Windows in Ellenboro. “We soon learned that MOVTA had a real interest in fostering service to our area, and just needed the right relationship to help make that happen.”

The company is reaching out with employment opportunities to underserved populations, Benson said.

“These are folks who may be coming from a background where they didn’t have opportunities to find readily available employment,” he said. “As part of that we are partnering with the Salvation Army, reaching out to local veterans groups, the Latrobe Street Mission and others to find candidates to review who would be ideal for the shuttle service and for this opportunity.”

Hiring and promotion have been taking place in and around Parkersburg and Vienna, including outreach events at the Salvation Army, local veterans groups, and other work-based employment services.

Simonton has been holding open interviews with individuals at the Parkersburg Salvation Army who might qualify for this opportunity. The interviews have been held on Tuesdays over the past few weeks. They will be held again this Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.