Report: Ford Plant Workers Slow to Find New Work

According to an Associated Press story, many former workers were unprepared for their next step after Ford ceased operations at the St. Paul plant last month.

It was 2006 when Ford Motor Company announced that it would shutter its St. Paul plant-but many of the plant's workers were slow to prepare for layoffs and begin the hunt for a new job, according to an Associated Press (AP) report that appeared in the Pioneer Press.

The plant-which closed in December-reportedly had about 1,800 hourly workers six years ago. In 2007, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development's dislocated worker program began helping employees write rŽsumŽs, network, and hone their interviewing skills. State figures show that 1,050 employees enrolled in the program and more than 300 finished, according to the AP.

Among those who finished, 90 percent reportedly got jobs and 96 percent of those individuals were still employed six months later. Forty-six percent of those who finished earned a diploma or professional certificate through the program's training benefits.

Ford spokeswoman Marcey Evans told the AP that about two-thirds of the plant's workers could transfer to other Ford locations, including assembly lines in Chicago and Louisville, Kentucky. But employees who took a $100,000 lump-sum buyout in 2006 weren't eligible for a transfer.

Greg Audette, who worked at the plant for 20 years, reportedly said that he now regrets taking the money.

“If I had known it would be like this, I never would have taken the buyout,” he told the AP. “I would be transferring now.”

Instead, he said while walking out of the plant for the last time that he would start looking for work.

State and Ramsey County officials say that it's not unusual for people who are part of large-scale layoffs to be in denial about their employment ending. Ford workers in particular received numerous extensions regarding the plant closure, allowing them to keep putting off the job hunt.