Over 100 Emporia employees look for new opportunities following layoffs

Local News

EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) – More than 100 people in Emporia are looking for new jobs as Detroit-Reman announced the plant will shut down by the end of the year.

“It was actually one of my better positions that I’ve been in,” said Detroit-Reman employee Adam Powers.

Powers say he always tries to remain positive, but the shock of the entire plant closing was still jarring. He says he could tell his colleagues were disgruntled.

The layoffs will begin in April, and will be staggered through year’s end.

“For the announcement of the entire plant, I was like “oh”, it was pretty much kind of like shock,” said Powers. “I’m hoping I can stay there through June and with how long I’ve been there and the jobs that I’ve done, I feel okay about it.”

The plant specializes in re-manufacturing transmissions, diesel engines and freight liner products. The company is closing the Emporia plant after a decision to cut shipping costs. Detroit-Reman has plants in more convenient locations like Utah and Ohio.

Kent Heermann, the president of the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas says local employers have already reached out to RAD in hopes of expanding their workforce using the talent that will now be looking for work.

“Locally I had a company contact me and they had six job openings,” said Heermann. “Some of our companies have been running short of employees in terms of we could use another 10 or 20.” 

Jeanine McKenna is the President and CEO of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce. McKenna, Heermann, and the rest of a rapid-response team, have been working on solutions for these employees around the clock.

“We will be helping by putting together resource packets that will show them about other available opportunities, about retraining opportunities,” said McKenna. “They are our friends and neighbors.”

As one plant closes, another one opens.

That company is private-label pet food manufacturer Simmons. The company cut the ribbon on a $60 million facility that will make wet pet food in Emporia, after it was decided that upgrading their New Jersey facility would be too expensive. Simmons makes pet food for brands like Hill and other name-brand retailers.

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