Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | May 21, 2018

Job fair draws crowd, many former employees of Fairfield Castings

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Jul 07, 2017
Photo by: Andy Hallman/Ledger photo Roger Fletcher, left, speaks to Jill Hoeck and Bobby Orman of Indian Hills Community College’s admissions office during Thursday’s job fair. Fletcher said he had previously worked for Dexter and Fairfield Castings.

Fairfield Economic Development Association held a job fair Thursday in response to the layoffs announced at Fairfield Castings.

The job fair was at Best Western Fairfield Inn. The event attracted 14 employers and about 75 attendees. FEDA executive director Joshua Laraby said he was pleased with the turnout.

“We’re quite happy with how it went,” Laraby said. “I saw a number of determined job-seekers filling out applications.”

More than 200 people have been laid off from Fairfield Castings. Laraby said a portion of them have been called back to the foundry, and others have obtained jobs elsewhere. For many of them, Thursday’s job fair was an opportunity to survey their options for local employment.

Michelle Kirkpatrick worked at Fairfield Castings until a few weeks ago when she was laid off. She was impressed with the job fair and said she filled out applications at a couple of businesses.

She’s hopeful an interview will result.

“I live in Ottumwa, but I don’t mind the drive to Fairfield,” she said. “At Fairfield Castings, I only had one day of training on a grinding wheel, and these other businesses are offering a few weeks of training.”

Kirkpatrick said she has been told that a job may open up for her at what was former Fairfield Castings, now Faircast, but she said she can’t afford to wait too long.

Jill Hoeck and Bobby Orman work in Indian Hills Community College’s admissions office and were at Thursday’s event. They said several attendees were interested in the college’s welding program.

Brett Lisk and Susan Barron of NCI Building Systems in Mt. Pleasant estimated that at least 60 percent of the attendees were former employees of Fairfield Castings. Lisk remarked that people with a factory background can trasition easily to work in another factory.

Jeff Guttry and Randy Andermann of Agri-Industrial Plastics estimated that as many as 80 percent of the attendees were from Fairfield Castings. They said they’ve hired some Fairfield Castings employees already.

“I’d say we’ve seen three times the number of attendees here than at the last job fair,” Guttry said.

“It’s been nice to chat with people and get to know them,” Andermann said.

Linn Cornick of Bovard Studios said all of the people he spoke to were formerly employed by Fairfield Castings.

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