Manufacturing company holds job fair for its laid off workers

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MANATEE COUNTY - More than 200 people working for Pierce Manufacturing in Bradenton are getting ready for what they're calling D-Day. The company laid off many of its workers after closing a division. But those workers are getting leads for their next job to from the very place letting them go.

“Back on the 26th of July, when the company announced the decision to discontinue building the Med-Tech product line, that’s an ambulance product that we build right here in Bradenton. When that happens, that does result in the laying off of a number of our employees,” says John Jordan with Pierce Manufacturing.

That decision left employee Dejon Fagan, and the approximately 240 people other being laid off, on edge. “I moved up here with my fiancée, and we're by ourselves. We have no family in Florida, so I got to make ends meet. Plus we have a newborn in a couple months.”

The need to make ends meet resulted in Dejon spending the past several months looking for his next opportunity. But his search got a little easier Tuesday when the very company laying him off brought in several potential employers.

“We brought the job fair to them, so we’ve got 30 local employers here so that our impacted employees could help make connections for some of the good permanent local jobs right here in the community they might not would have known that existed,” says Jordan.

The event was co-sponsored by Pierce, the Manatee Economic Development Corporation, and the Suncoast Workforce.

Companies looking to hire ranged from other local manufacturers to the City of Sarasota.

It’s something Dejon is calling a silver lining to a very grim situation. “Hopefully there’s a few people here who have an opportunity for me.”

Pierce says Tuesday’s job fair is just one of many events they have sponsored to help the laid off employees transition to their next opportunity.