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