Hundreds of Cargill workers still jobless a year later

Reported by: Henry Ramos
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Updated: 1/31/2014 9:19 pm
It has been a year of uncertainty, struggles, and hardships for the thousands of laid off Cargill plant employees. Many of those employees are still looking for jobs.

Today, the plant is still in idle mode due to the ongoing drought and dwindling cattle supply. There's still no hope of the plant re-opening in the near future.

As for Plainview, it isn't the ghost town many thought it would be after losing one of it's biggest employers. The town is bouncing back, along with many former Cargill employees, like Norma Garcia who didn't know where to turn.

"It just seemed like a big nightmare at first," she said.

The mother of two lost her job at Cargill. She was faced with a harsh reality of starting her life over. 

"Now looking back it was like the scariest roller coaster I have ever been on," Garcia said.
Garcia has since left Plainview. She had short stint as a prison guard, but now works security at UMC.

"It was a great ride because I have learned a lot from it," she said. "It has made me a better person. I really see myself understanding a lot of things I didn't really understand before."

Garcia is one of the fortunate ones. Kevin Carter, with the Hale County Industrial Foundation, said a year later there are still hundreds looking for a job.
"Not as bad as we would have anticipated probably, but still 600 people that are out of work and right now aren't receiving benefits," he said.

Its been a pretty challenging year for Plainview. The city reached an unemployment rate of 13 percent. Right now, it stands at 11 percent. 
The school district also lost more than 200 students. 

"One of our biggest economic indicators is sales tax and that was actually up this year," Carter said. So that is kind of incredible really."  

The city is venturing into a lot of new opportunities. Carter said there are a lot of energy projects in the pipeline.
"We've got two wind projects announced this summer," he said. One is going to start this Fall, and one will probably start early January next year."

Many businesses in town didn't take as hard of a hit as many thought. However, Carter said there's still a lot of work to be done to get Plainview back on the map. 

Plainview hasn't seen a decrease in population. Carter adds South Plains College along with Workforce Solutions are assisting displaced workers by training them for future jobs.
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