Recent layoffs in area spur CareerLink job fair

Office fields calls about Gardner Denver staff

Blair County CareerLink has scheduled a job fair at the Jaffa Shrine Center for Oct. 16 and CareerLink office administrator Gwen Fisher said companies were calling all day Tuesday to inquire about hiring workers laid off from Gardner Denver.

On Monday, Gardner Denver announced layoffs of 45 workers including machinists and office staff.

There have been 322 layoffs in recent months between Norfolk Southern, North American Communications and WATCO, said Altoona Blair County Development Corp. President and CEO Steve McKnight. And now Gardner Denver adds 45 more.

It’s not just in Blair County, however, Norfolk Southern laid off 130 employees in Roanoke, Va., in addition to the layoffs in Altoona, noted State Rep. Jim Gregory, R-Hollidaysburg, who is working to promote Pennsylvania’s Rapid Response assistance for workers in his district.

Overall, McKnight said jobs in Blair county grew by 2.1 percent from July 2018 to July 2019.

At CareerLink, Fisher is hopeful that workers who were recently laid off will be employed within the local economy soon.

“Machinists, mechanics, these are people needed right now in this area,” she said.

The job fair scheduled for next week is to feature 85 area employers from Blair and Bedford counties, she said.