202 workers jobless after Shaw plant closes in Fitzgerald

202 workers jobless after Shaw plant closes in Fitzgerald
Mayor Mark Massee (Source: WALB)
Mayor Mark Massee (Source: WALB)
Shaw M3 plant in Fitzgerald (Source: WALB)
Shaw M3 plant in Fitzgerald (Source: WALB)

FITZGERALD, GA (WALB) - 202 workers in Fitzgerald found out this week they're losing their jobs.
Shaw Industries announced it's closing its last facility in the city.

The folk of Ben Hill county have been here before.

In September of 2007, 550 people were left jobless when a Shaw plant closed.

Nine years later, the city is facing a familiar shock.

Shaw Industries is the world's largest carpet manufacturer, but for Mayor Mark Massee and the city of Fitzgerald, its production of jobs for the area has been pivotal.

"What we want to do as a community is show that we can move on from this," said Mayor Massee.

On Tuesday, Shaw announced it will close the yarn manufacturing facility and shift production to other plants in the southeast.

The process will leave 202 people jobless before the year's end.

"We constantly work on efforts to bring in new jobs for preparations of things like this," said Mayor Massee but you're never fully prepared."

The city is acting now by reaching out to groups like the Georgia department of economic development to bring in programs for unemployment, retraining or potential mortgage assistance.

"We're mainly concerned at this point with addressing the needs with those unemployed former employees," Mayor Massee added.

Shaw also said in a statement it will allow employees to transfer within the company, and will also assist bringing a job fair to the area.

With the holiday season approaching, the city of Fitzgerald is open for the assistance.

"We hope that we are involved in that," said Massee. "And we're willing to cooperate with that in any way we can."

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