Local Layoffs Hit Community Hard

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Knoxville (WVLT) - With just over 21,0000 residents, Scott County is being hit hard after three local industries lay off or shut down, resulting in the loss of nearly 140 jobs.

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb was in Scott County today where officials are working to bring new jobs to the area while affected workers are left to wonder what's next.

"You spend two years at a company and then all of a sudden they don't need you no more," Jeff Claxton is one of nearly 140 people in Scott county recently laid off after Benson Industries and Jacobs and Associates shut down and layoffs made at Great Dane Trailers.

"When you start talking about more than one hundred in a short period of time, that is hard for us to absorb," County mayor Rick Keeton says such layoffs are difficult for a small rural county of just 21,000, where people say jobs are hard to come by.

"I put in applications about every factory around here and I still ain't got no job, heard from them, or anything," says Randy Day.

Keeton attributes the layoffs to outsourcing to different states and a declining demand for the trailers these companies make. He says manufacturing is on the decline and hopes people will consider retraining where some job demands are greater.

"The highest demand that we have in the county right now is anything to do with medical, medical services," says Career Center Coordinator Tom Payne.

And also service related jobs, which is what Jeff is now considering.

"I'm going to try to get my CDL license, start driving a truck. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time. Right now is a good time to do it," Claxton says.

Jeff just hopes he can continue to call Scott County home. "Ain't nobody wants to leave home but if you've got a family to take care of, you've got to do something."

Mayor Keeton says there is a good possibility one of the industries will be back in business and operational within 30 days.

He adds they're also actively recruiting new business and are in a holding pattern for another business looking at the possibility of locating to Scott County.

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