Dis­placed work­ers re­con­nect at job fair

Siloam Springs Herald Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael Burch­fiel Staff Writer mburch­fiel@nwadg.com

Days af­ter a ma­jor em­ployer shut down a fa­cil­ity in Siloam Springs, for­mer em­ploy­ees at­tended a job fair in the Amer­i­can Le­gion Com­mu­nity Build­ing.

More than 230 jobs were lost af­ter Del Monte an­nounced Sept. 20 that it was sell­ing its sub­sidiary Sager Creek Veg­etable to McCall Farms Inc., and that the Sager Creek Veg­etable plant on Read­ings Road in Siloam Springs would be clos­ing. To help those em­ploy­ees tran­si­tion and find new po­si­tions in the com­mu­nity, Del Monte reached out to the Siloam Springs Cham­ber of Com­merce to host a job fair on Thurs­day, said Robin Con­nell, se­nior man­ager of com­mu­ni­ca­tions with Del Monte.

“We are pleased at the great re­sponse from both com­mu­nity re­source or­ga­ni­za­tions, as well as lo­cal em­ploy­ers, and are hope­ful the day pro­vides po­ten­tial prospects for both the dis­placed work­ers and lo­cal em­ploy­ers,” said Con­nell.

“They felt there was a need to help peo­ple who had lost jobs,” said Kate­lyn Coon, Di­rec­tor of Events at the Siloam Springs Cham­ber of Com­merce.

“It’s been very pos­i­tive,” said Coon. “A lot of Del Monte peo­ple, and peo­ple who are just look­ing for a job.”

Coon said that just more than 100 peo­ple signed in at the event, which lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., though ac­tual at­ten­dance was likely higher. Sev­eral job seek­ers de­clined to com­ment

on the event be­cause Del Monte asked the for­mer em­ploy­ees not to speak to the press.

The job fair con­nected job seek­ers with 19 com­pa­nies and staffing agen­cies who reached out to the cham­ber af­ter the an­nounce­ment, Coon said. The Arkansas Depart­ment of Work­force Ser­vices, Good­will and the Dis­lo­cated Worker Task Force each also reached out and had a pres­ence at the event.

“The re­sponse to this sit­u­a­tion has been im­me­di­ate and grat­i­fy­ing,” Cham­ber of Com­merce Pres­i­dent Wayne Mays said in a press re­lease shortly af­ter the Del Monte an­nounce­ment.

“Our re­cent in­dus­try vis­its have in­di­cated a pent-up de­mand for work­ers, es­pe­cially skilled and tech­ni­cal work­ers; the num­ber of job va­can­cies re­ported by our lo­cal em­ploy­ers ex­ceeds the num­ber of jobs lost at the Del Monte coun­try plant,” Mays said.

“I thought it was a good event, I got to talk to sev­eral for­mer Del Monte em­ploy­ees,” said Patti Ei­land, HR man­ager at Al­ter­na­tive De­sign, a Siloam Springs-based com­pany that at­tended the hir­ing fair.

Ei­land said she went to the event with a pair of open­ings, and was able to book two in­ter­views with peo­ple she met at the fair. Al­ter­na­tive De­sign also hired an­other ex-Del Monte em­ployee re­cently, so Ei­land said they were ex­cited to get a chance to speak to other qual­i­fied em­ploy­ees.

“We were al­ready thrilled that we were able to help these peo­ple, and for them to be able to help us,” Ei­land said.

Michael Burch­fiel/Siloam Sun­day

-oE seeNers fLOOed WKe $PerLFan LegLon CoPPunLWy BuLOdLng 7Kurs­day for a job fair aimed at re­con­nect­ing those who re­cently lost jobs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.