Old Horsehead Zinc, site of new Shell ‘Cracker’
By Jared Stonesifer
Beaver County Times
March 10, 2016 – MIDLAND — The Beaver County chapter of the NAACP wants to make sure the local black population isn’t left out of a potential economic explosion that would occur if Shell Chemicals builds a multibillion-dollar ethane cracker plant along the Ohio River.
The chapter is holding an event next week designed to prepare the local population for that possibility. The meeting will inform residents on what skills and qualifications they would need to be hired at the potential plant, while it will also inform them about the possibility of an array of opportunities if the plant comes here.
Shell, which continues work to remediate the old Horsehead Corp. site in Potter Township, has not made a final investment decision on the plant. But that hasn’t stopped local leaders from preparing in the event it does come here.
“There could be an (economic) explosion coming, and we want to make sure African-Americans are part of that explosion,” said Willie Sallis, president of the Beaver County NAACP.
The meeting will be held 5 p.m. Thursday at the American Legion at 800 Midland Ave. in Midland.
It will include representatives from Community College of Beaver County, Shell, Job Training for Beaver County, CareerLink and potentially a local politician, according to the NAACP.
Future meetings could be scheduled in other Beaver County locations in an attempt to galvanize as much of the population as possible.
Sallis said it’s especially important to reach younger black people who are just starting their careers. Even if Shell doesn’t come here, the younger workers in Beaver County can still be ready to take their skills elsewhere.
“Even if Shell doesn’t come, they can market their skills elsewhere,” he said. “Either way, it’s important to be properly prepared. We should have been doing this several years back.”
Other meetings could be held in places like Aliquippa, Beaver Falls and Ambridge, Sallis said.
Sallis added he’s already had two meetings with Shell representatives and is encouraged about working with the company going forward.
Anyone who attends the Midland meeting is encouraged to bring a resume.
Shell did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.