Garner's ConAgra hosts job fair

GARNER A job fair was held for the remaining ConAgra employees who are slated to lose their jobs in what will be one of the region's biggest mass layoffs when the Garner Slim Jim factory closes in mid-April.

The company recently announced 234 employees will lose their jobs in April instead of June. Another 320 will lose their jobs when the plant closes for good on May 27.

The thriving Garner facility was never able to recover from an explosion in 2009 that killed four people and hurt dozens of others.

ConAgra announced last year it was going to close the factory and move the work to Ohio, which was tough news for workers to swallow.

"We work hard every single day, every department every person to keep that plant on its feet," ConAgra employee Jerone Albany said.

Still, many hoped to stay in the area.

"I'm going to try to stay strong and do what I have to do to try and find another job," he said.

ConAgra officials are now hoping Wednesday's job fair will help Albany and other employees do just that.

They say they expect at least 15 companies to set up booths at the job fair, which will last from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If more companies express interest in attending, ConAgra will expand the job fair into a second day.

In the meantime, there has been some good news on the job front in Garner.

On Monday, Strategic Behavioral Health CEO Jim Shaheen said the Memphis-based company is bringing Garner at least 250 professional jobs with a target of 99 percent local workers.

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