Local News

ConAgra holds job fair for Garner workers

Posted March 30, 2011

— ConAgra held a private job fair Wednesday for employees who will be left without work when a plant in Garner closes later this spring.

About 400 workers will be let go over the next few months as ConAgra shuts down production at the plant, which was struck a natural gas explosion that killed four people in June 2009.

"It's bad, but that's the deal we get," said plant employee Doretta Knox. "Take one day at a time."

The plant, which makes Slim Jim beef jerky products, will close on May 20.

About 20 potential employers met with ConAgra workers at a job fair exclusively for them Wednesday. Most of the employers were in manufacturing, and they included Kellogg's, Butterball, Time Warner Cable, the state Department of Correction and the towns of Garner and Benson.

"I'd like to find another job at least somewhere similar like this, that pays as good as this," said plant employee Tim Burns.

conagra ConAgra holds job fair for Garner workers

Some of the plant's employees have worked at ConAgra since high school and have never had to write a resume, said plant manager David Sweeney, so he called in Wake Technical Community College to assist employees in resume-writing, interview and computer skills.

"It's been amazing to watch the family here galvanize over the last couple of years, ever since the incident, and really see them come together as a family," Sweeney said.

ConAgra also plans to donate the 450,000-square-foot plant and the surrounding 106 acres to the town to help attract a new manufacturer.

ConAgra reopened the plant two months after the explosion but, because of diminished production capacity, laid off 300 workers that fall. Production done at the plant will be shifted to Troy, Ohio.


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  • ConcernedNCC Mar 31, 2011

    bmg379 (aka clueless in Garner) obviously never read anything about this back when it happened.

  • ConcernedNCC Mar 31, 2011

    pipcolt: Because Conagra arranged it. You can very easily go to any of the mentioned companies and apply and interview yourself.

  • superman Mar 31, 2011

    Just perhaps IF the state and Garner had been a little nicer to them they would have stayed! You cant kick your dog and expect it to love you. I am sorry about people losing their jobs but I dont blame them to move from the area where they are not wanted. Garner is getting a new treatment center just hope the center will be large enough to accomodate the residents there.

  • fzero Mar 30, 2011

    Glad to see at least one company has some sort of moral compass. Closing that plant really hurts the town, but at least they are flopping the money down (I'm guessing) for a private jobs fair. Most companies would just ask for your key card and point you toward the unemployment line.

  • bigal02282 Mar 30, 2011

    Ahhhh, reduce our taxes and give us what we want or we won't be able to hire anyone. How's that working out for the US? What? you mean Big Biz ied to us???? Say it aint so Joe!

  • They call me CATMAN Mar 30, 2011

    joshharris73 - Ditto Ditto Ditto.

  • They call me CATMAN Mar 30, 2011

    I have a good friend that works at the ConAgra plant he has been with them close to 30 years. I hope that all involved will be able to find employment soon.

  • joshharris73 Mar 30, 2011

    pipcolt -> a company can do for it's employees as it sees fit. Who you work for matters. bmg ->Contractors from the Triangle sparked the explosion. If you want to blame someone, blame the local company that didn't adequately follow safety protocols when working on natural gas equipment. ConAgra was not responsible and has no obligations in that matter. They have gone far above what some companies would do to ensure that their employees get a fair shake at new employment. If you are bitter about losing the company, do something about it. If you are out of work and want a job, create a plan and do what you need to do to become marketable, or better yet start your own company. I'm tired of listening to people whine about the job market and blaming everyone except themselves. It's your life. Make the choices you need to make and move forward.

  • Kingfish Mar 30, 2011

    The plant explosion was an horrific event. We all can agree on that, but the citizens of Garner wanted Con Agra gone so I don't understand why they're so upset about losing the jobs. Con Agra is doing what they can to help those same people find work elsewhere.

  • pipcolt Mar 30, 2011

    Why do these conagra people get this special treatment with a private job fair? What about the people that have been out of work for years and have been looking all this time. THIS IS ....