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Job Fair Friday for Laid Off Siemens Workers

Jason Parrott
The job fair Friday morning is only open to the 202 employees laid off from Siemens-Gamesa's wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Lee County.

IowaWorks will hold a targeted job fair Friday, Feb. 16 from 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at Comfort Inn & Suites in Fort Madison. The workforce development agency said it will only be open to employees who were laid off last month from Siemens-Gamesa’s wind turbine blade manufacturing plant in Fort Madison.

Deb Fox with IowaWorks said the typical job fair tries to highlight a wide variety of careers and businesses in areas such as food service, health care, education and marketing. She said this job fair will focus on employers who need employees with the skill sets offered by the laid-off Siemens-Gamesa workers.

“Companies and businesses that have similar positions that the individuals held at the company they were previously with so in this case, we have a lot of manufacturers that will be attending, a lot of production assembly positions, fabrications,” said Fox.

Fox said about 45 employers from throughout the region and across the state of Iowa plan to attend. She said several have even requested private space for on-site interviews, in the hopes of hiring potential employees during the job fair.

“The response has even been a lot stronger [than expected],” said Fox. “I think that’s probably due in part to our 17 year, record low unemployment rate of 2.8%, so I think that’s contributing as well. We have 200 great workers and a lot of great companies we hope we can connect them to.”

Siemens-Gamesa announced the layoffs in late January, stating that business at the Fort Madison plant was not enough to maintain the workforce. The company said at the time that about 330 people remained employed at the plant after the layoffs.

Fox said during meetings held with IowaWorks after the layoffs were announced, almost every affected employee expressed an interest in participating in a job fair. She said her agency is also helping the laid-off workers, and anyone in general, find high-demand jobs, write resumes and conducting professional interviews.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.