66 businesses and over 1,000 people packed in to the Ollie Liner Center in Plainview Wednesday in hopes of finding employment. The event was put on by South Plains Workforce Solutions in an effort to help the employees of the Cargill meat plant that closed down February 1st.
Employers included Tyson, Lowes, National Beef, Walmart and the Texas Department of Corrections.
"We have a statewide shortage of correctional officers," said Debbi McMullan. She is a CO-4 with the Preston Smith Unit and was hoping to find at least 100 qualified people to train and place across the state. "Right now we're offering a $3,000 sign on bonus for people who are willing to commit to one year at any of our critically short staffed units. Right now Lamesa is my top priority."
Micheal Sansom is 57 years old and had been working at Cargill for 33 years before he was laid off. So far, he is having a hard time getting a new job.
"The majority of the places call for a certain education, and I was talking to a woman at another table and she said I have to have a bachelor's degree. I said, 'Well, if I had a bachelor's degree I wouldn't be out here today. I would've found something a long time ago,'" Sansom said.
The majority of the companies were asking applicants to relocate. Lupe Lopez is the Employment Director for National Beef, based out of southwest Kansas. She said reaction has been mixed when she asks people to move.
"Some of them are hesitant that have been here for a long time, but we have a lot that are ready for a change and really motivated and determined," she said. "We've had some start last week, some are starting this week and we have set dates for others to start in a couple of weeks."
However, for people like Sansom, who have deep roots in the Plainview area, relocating isn't an option.
"I can't relocate. If I was in my 20s or 30s I could, but at 57 what can I do?" he said. "My house is almost paid for and my kids are still in school, so I can't relocate. And I don't think I could drive back and forth out of town either."
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