Wright County Trying to Prevent Job Loss Due to Bird Flu

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CLARION, Iowa — The Wright County Economic Development Office is working to try to keep workers in the local area after recent layoffs.

The avian influenza striking farms in the area has caused dozens of workers to be laid off.

Wright County officials contacted the Iowa Workforce Office, Iowa State University, and the Small Business Development Center to come to Clarion to meet with affected workers. An event to facilitate this meeting was held last week.

“We’ve contacted employers in other industries that were looking for employees,” said Bryce Davis, Wright County Economic Development Director. Davis said the effort was, “so that we could transfer these individuals into other working opportunities.”

Davis said they are working to help displaced employees with unemployment insurance, and if they are getting re-trained for new skills, they could qualify for an additional 26 weeks of unemployment.

“They may have a job with the poultry industry, once it gets back up and running,” Davis said.

In the meantime, the goal is to keep the laid off employees in Wright County.

“We will see the biggest ripple effect when individuals start leaving the county,” Davis said. “Small business in the area will not receive as many purchases, charitable organizations will not see as many gifts.”

The school district could also lose students, and $6,000 per pupil in State Aid.

“The avian influenza in the poultry industry is a terrible thing,” Davis said. “At the end of the day it’s just chickens and buildings, no one is dying.”


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