Viewpoint: Displaced workers need skills

Cooper Tire Company, which once employed 1,400 people, and paid good wages with benefits, is now part of South Georgia's past. The jobs are gone, and so is the payroll.

The vast majority of those employees have to find other employment, which can be hard enough in good times. We're not in good times, and that can make job-hunting doubly difficult.

It's a good thing that we have our technical schools to offer these displaced workers an opportunity to learn new trades.

Both Moultrie and Albany Technical Colleges are working with many former Cooper employees who are learning skills like heating and air conditioning, carpentry, and allied health.

Albany Tech will add weekend classes for some trades next quarter to accommodate more students.

Moultrie Tech is waiving the application fee for Cooper Tire employees to help them get back in the workforce.

As we saw two decades ago when Firestone pulled up stakes in Albany, the tire builders who have to find something else to do will contribute to our economy as soon as they can. Some of them will start their own businesses, and hire other people.

There will be some hardship in the transition for our former Cooper workers, but we are fortunate that we have good technical schools to help the process.