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The approximately 500 workers in Bend, Ore., being laid off when Monaco Coach Corp. closes down its Beaver motorhome manufacturing facility in June and shifts operations to the company’s Coburg complex should be able to find employment.
According to the Bend Bulletin, local employment officials said it is likely that other growing companies throughout Central Oregon, looking to ramp up production, will be hiring Monaco’s work force.
At least 40 companies will be at a job fair at the Bend plant on May 20 and local work force agencies are offering a series of job-finding and training services to prepare the workers to find other employment.
Monaco, the seventh-largest private employer in Central Oregon, offered relocation packages to workers who take the 400 jobs being moved to Coburg, and about 60 employees expressed interest, said Steve Bettis, director of Eastern Oregon operations for Monaco.
Those people traveled on a company bus or on their own to tour the new, modern plant and see the area last Saturday, he said.
But most of the workers want to stay in Bend, and employers are eager to hire them, employment officials said.
“One of the things I’ve been hearing in the last two to three months in manufacturing is that the business is there if they can ramp up the work force and hire another shift,” said Jan Swander, work force analyst for the Oregon Employment Department. “Those employers are looking for many, if not all, the same skills these workers have.
“The bigger picture is that many of these positions can be absorbed in the work force — the jobs are waiting for them,” Swander added. “It’s a good time of year, the economy is continuing to be upbeat, and that creates jobs.”
The Deschutes County unemployment rate dropped in March by 0.8 of a percentage point from February to 6.5%. It was the lowest the rate has been for the month of March since 2000, and the rate was 1.5 percentage points lower than last March.
The county gained 750 jobs in March after adding 620 jobs in February, according to the employment department.
Monaco’s Bettis said the company will shut down production early on May 20 so the job fair can begin at 1:30 p.m. The company will stop building motor coaches on June 3, but some workers will remain until June 15 to move tools and equipment.