New jobs on the way to East Tennessee

Morristown (WVLT) -- Hundreds of new jobs are coming to East Tennessee.

Mississippi's loss is Morristown's gain as Berkline/Benchcraft consolidates its operations.

Volunteer TV's Rob Pratt, a Morristown native has more.

When companies talk about changes forced by tough economic times, it's often followed by cutting jobs completely or moving them overseas.

But for Berkline/Benchcraft, it means placing more of its focus on its headquarters in Morristown.

With over fifteen-hundred employees, Berkline/Benchcraft is already one of Hamblen County's biggest employers.

Over the next two months, it will grow by two hundred more.

Dennis Carper, Berkline/Benchcraft Vice President says, "With the downturn in the economy and certainly the impact it's hard on our business, we find ourselves in a situation where we do need to consolidate."

For Carper, consolidating meant going to Blue Mountain, Mississippi this week to tell over four hundred employees that their plant will close soon.

The good news, more than 200 jobs will be created in Morristown. Why here?

Carper says, "We have an established workforce, we have a quality workforce, we decided to invest here, along with all our support departments we already have located here, would be most efficient for the company."

News of new jobs in the area is welcome for people like Martin Mishko.

He spent the day at the Five Rivers Regional Career Center searching for a job."

Morristown resident Martin Mishko says, "That's excellent, excellent. That's positive for the economy and growth in the community."

After searching for work in industrial maintenance for over a month, Mishko says he is now more hopeful than ever.

Mishko says, "It seems like it's getting better, just looking at the job list right here, there's a lot more jobs available, that's good, so I have a good feeling."

Berkline/Benchcraft had to make another tough decision this week.

The Lenoir City stamping plant is closing, leaving 40 people looking for jobs.

So the net gain for East Tennessee is at least 160 jobs as a result of this company's reorganization.

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