Iowa Workforce Development

(Red Oak) -- Montgomery County officials are coming to aid of workers laid off by a local employer this week.

Southwestern Community College's Red Oak Center is the site of a Regional Hiring Fair next Friday, February 21st from 1-to-4 p.m. Montgomery County Development Corporation, in partnership with IowaWorks, Iowa Workforce Development, Southwestern Community College and Iowa Intermediary Network cosponsor the event, in the wake of layoffs at Red Oak's American Hydraulics plant. Fifty-six workers lost their jobs in the workforce reduction. Shawnna Silvius is director of economic development for MCDC. Speaking on KMA's "Morning Line" program Friday morning, Silvius says the layoffs are a big hit to the local economy.

"Those 56 people were all ranges of positions," said Silvius, "from the top to maintenance level. That affects families across the board. Our number-one thing is what do we do to respond as quickly as we can to help these folks get meaningful employment. And, this is a great opportunity for some people to pick up new skill sets, or go through retraining, or give them a new opportunity."

At least 16 businesses and industries from southwest Iowa and southeast Nebraska are participating in the job fair.

"They mentioned they have some Red Oak or area employees already that are carpooling position," she said. "So, you know, this could be an opportunity for some people to pick up some good paying positions across our region, and still stay living and residing where they are, keep their kids in their school, and have their lives as uninterrupted as possible."

Silvius says many of the positions available are good paying jobs.

"We're looking at salaries positions in the upper 70's," said Silvius, "to hourly wages. Many of these are in the $17 to $20 an hour range, from forklift operators to correctional officers."

Silvius says a wide variety of positions are available from the job fair participants.

"I've had them send me a list of their current positions," she said. "One company's looking to fill 45 positions. Another company is looking at 16. And then, several of them are looking at one or two people. We've got things across the board. There's a lot of opportunities out there for people."

Special services will also be available at the job fair. Other participating businesses and industries are sought for participation. More information is available by calling Shawnna Silvius at 712-370-6323. You can hear her full interview on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.