What’s next for 700 UTEC workers that will lose jobs?

February 12th, 2016

News Coverage:

February 11, 2016

What’s next for 700 UTEC workers that will lose jobs?

Kaitor Kposowa

HUNTINGTON, Ind. (WANE) With the recent announcement that UTEC in Huntington will relocate to Mexico starting in 2017, 700 employees will lose their jobs.

“If you’re a displaced worker there’s a great deal of uncertainty in your life,” John Sampson of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen next.”

Sampson is president and CEO of the economic development organization which is dedicated to advancing the local economy. His organization is just one of the local groups that is jumping in to help.

“It wrenches your stomach when you hear that 700 individuals will be affected by a displacement like that,” he said. “It’s not good news, particularly if you have a family that’s affected by that and you’ve staked your career on doing that kind of work. It hurts.”

He points to the fact that the 11 counties of Northeast Indiana have an unemployment rate below 4.5 percent. That’s lower than the state and national rate.

“So the silver lining is that the current demand with such low unemployment in our region and the current demand for that kind of skill and worker is a good thing for us to have them available,” Sampson said. “We need them to stay in Northeast Indiana.”

His priority is that the workers don’t look for jobs outside of the region.

“We have to convince them, those workers, that there are right jobs for them at other locations they can commute to and we need them here,” Sampson said.

Rick Farrant of Northest Indiana Works said the layoff news has made for a busy day at the office.

“It’s been a little chaotic,” he said. “We have been fielding phone calls from a number of organizations that are interested in assisting this matter.”

Educational, government and economic development officials have been calling his team throughout the day, Thursday. Since The layoffs won’t begin until 2017, Farrant said they have time.

“That’s going to give the region an opportunity to really sit down and plan systematically how we can help these workers land employment in Northeast Indiana,” Farrant said.

Governor Mike Pence released the following statement in response to the recent announcements:

The reports that Carrier and United Technologies Electronics Controls will be relocating operations is disappointing as it relates to the some 2,100 Hoosiers that will be affected. While our administration continues to foster an environment within the state that is attracting record investment, federal regulations continue to stymie our national economy. The fact that these companies are leaving the United States speaks broadly about the need for reform in our nation’s capital.

Our Department of Workforce Development is reaching out to these employees to offer job-seeking, training and education resources to help those affected. Any Hoosier seeking employment assistance can visit www.workoneworks.com to find their nearest WorkOne location. Furthermore, our Indiana Economic Development Corporation is reviewing any incentives that might have been previously offered to these companies.

 While our state’s economy is fostering record employment and investment, the loss of these jobs tell of the work we still have to do. And Hoosiers can rest assured that my administration will continue to stand by working Hoosiers.

Anyone can call and receive job search and training assistance depending on their particular needs. For that information, you can contact Northeast Indiana Works at 260-459-1400 or Northeast Indiana Partnership at 877-469-3469.