Quaker Oats Closure Leaves Hundreds Unemployed

(IntegrityTimes.com) – Residents of Danville, Illinois, are preparing to adjust to the loss of over 500 jobs after the Quaker Oats Company announced on April 3 that it was permanently closing its doors after 65 years. Mayor Rickey Williams Jr. said that PepsiCo, which acquired Quaker Oats in 2001, would officially close the facility on June 8. Production has already stopped, but employees will continue to receive a paycheck until June, according to Williams. He noted that the news came as a shock but said that citizens would “unite as a community to help those who have lost their employment.”

Williams said that he did not know if any employees were being transferred or if everyone had been laid off. He noted that other local employers were hiring and that community officials would be working to connect affected employees with those opportunities. The Danville facility mainly manufactured granola bars, but previously made pancake mix and cereal. According to a statement released by the company, a December recall of granola bars prompted the decision to begin producing the product at a newer facility. A notice from the FDA listed potential salmonella contamination as the reason for the recall.

The PepsiCo statement also said that the company did “not make this decision lightly,” and that it would be providing support to employees and local officials during the transition. Upon news of the announcement, Vermillion County Works, which runs federally-funded workforce programs, immediately began coordinating with the state to schedule meetings for employees to educate them about unemployment benefits, job training, and available social services. Additionally, the organization is submitting applications for state funding that would provide financial assistance to workers who are interested in returning to school or learning a skill that is in high demand. According to the organization’s director, Chuck Jones, the state has emergency reserves for employees in situations like the Quaker Oats closure.

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