It was a grim day in July when Siemens Wind Power Limited announced it would be shutting down its wind blade manufacturing plant in Tillsonburg by early 2018, affecting 340 employees, including 206 with immediate effect.
Those employees were given a ray of hope Thursday morning at a job fair organized by Siemens at the Tillsonburg Community Centre, which was opened to the general public in the afternoon (until 2:30 p.m.). More than companies 50 participated, setting up booths in the Lions Auditorium and Marwood Lounge.
"Having it here, you know who's hiring," said Gary Moore from Vienna, who worked one-and-a-half years temporary, and two full-time years at the Tillsonburg plant.
Mary Bueckert from Eden, a three-year Siemens employee, appreciated the convenience of having all the employers together in one building.
"Hopefully we were able to talk to somebody - if we wanted to - and hand in resumes direct," said Bueckert.
"And you see what jobs they're actually hiring for too, right?" said Tillsonburg's Randy Holman.
"A lot of them are skilled trades," Moore noted.
"Still, it's so fantastic," said Bueckert. "I'm so glad they came here, so glad."
"I want something that's not just production work," said 48-year-old Moore, "because I don't want to be a general labourer anymore. This is the fourth factory that I've been in that's closed up. Well, Johnson Controls didn't really close, but... It gets harder as you get older. As soon as you get into your 50s, good luck finding jobs. Then it gets into your mind, 'Where am I going to go next?' What am I going to do?' And you've always got bills coming in."
The number of job opportunities was surprising, said Bueckert, and both Moore and Holman agreed.
"A lot more than we thought," said Holman.
"Really good," Moore nodded.
"We had a list of companies that were supposed to show up and the list grew by like double," said Bueckert. "So fantastic."
"And for the area, not just Tillsonburg," said Holman. "There's stuff available."
"I'm so happy that they did that for us, nice that they're helping us out that way," said Buekert. "It's great, we're very grateful for that."
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