Specialists with Iowa Workforce Development have been helping the workers at the Ferrara Candy Company in Creston after the announcement last week that the plant would close later this year.

IWD’s Elizabeth Waigand says the good news is they have some time before the more than 200 workers are out of a job. She says Ferrara won’t be closing until December and that makes it easier than if the company would have closed immediately. “Even though it is an unfortunate situation — it does give us and our community leaders time to plan.”

Waigand says another positive factor is the state unemployment rate is low and many companies have been looking for workers to fill jobs. She says Workforce Development got calls soon after the Ferrara announcement from some 40 businesses who are interested in the company’s workers.

“We know that they have skill sets that other business are eager to take these employees on. But there will be people that may want to change their careers at this time of life,” Waigand says. She says workers who want to move in a different direction can get help with training to learn new skills. Waigand says she did a quick online search and found some 664 jobs available in the eight-county area, which means there are many opportunities available.

She says that number is actually higher than the listings as one company many be looking for five positions with the one listing. While the prospect of finding a new job looks good for the Ferrara workers, she says they will still be dealing with the emotional loss of a job they may’ve had for many years.

“If I lose my job, it’s not just losing some of my income. It’s also losing friends that I worked with for 10-plus years, you’re losing the routine of getting up every day and going to my job. It’s losing what you know how to do best — so that takes time,” according to Waigand. She says Workforce Development also helps the workers cope with they psychological impact of losing their job. Waigand says it’s something they talk about in the community and remind everyone about.

“Don’t expect people just to be on their top of spirits — because it takes time,” Waigand says. “We know that we are going to support these employees and find the next career that is right for them. But, it’s going to take time to cope with this.” Waigand says they have been meeting with the employees and will continue meeting with them and others in the community to prepare them for the plant closing.