Two Missouri towns are preparing to lose a major employer this month. Tyson Foods plans to close two chicken processing plants in southeast Missouri’s Dexter and southwest Missouri’s Noel – putting about 2,200 workers out of a job.

What is Missouri doing to help these affected workers? Tim Dunville, with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, said a rapid response team is helping the affected workers find new jobs by holding job fairs in both towns.

“We’re bringing our services to them instead of saying, ‘No, you’ve got come to us.’ We want them to get back to work as fast as they can, you know, because everyone has bills to pay, and families to feed. And so, the whole purpose of the program is to promote economic recovery and preventing and minimizing impact on workers and the communities,” said Dunville.

The state is in Dexter on Tuesdays and Thursdays through October 12 with its mobile job center to help workers find jobs. Job fairs have been going on three days a week in Noel and will continue through October 13.

“When we have those job fairs we try and bring in compatible companies that pay the same resistance as Tyson you know because we’re not going to try and bring in just any employer and they’re going to try and make a lot less wage we want to bring employees they’re going to pay them a sustainable wage like they were making a Tyson. Down in Noel, they’re bringing in three employers each day – Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and the resources like for unemployment, you know, other state agencies, Voc Rehab, and the other local agencies that want to participate to help these workers find new positions or some other assistance that they may need,” he said.

He said the rapid response team is designed to take the lead on mass layoffs – to help avoid confusion and keep the public in the loop.

Dunville said the state will also help all Missouri employees losing their job – not just ones involved in a mass layoff.

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