CLEAR LAKE, Iowa — Employees of a major bedding manufacturer are trying to figure out what happens next after their employer announced it would close its northern Iowa plant later this year.
Citing a broader company-wide effort to optimize its manufacturing footprint, Serta Simmons Bedding announced on Wednesday that it would be closing its Clear Lake plant, with an employee telling KIMT that the closure is expected to be completed by here at the end of June. The ad leaves affected employees looking for jobs.
At Iowa Works, they connect the unemployed and career changers with new opportunities. If a company announces a closure or initiates a series of mass layoffs, chief operating officer James Arvidson says they hold what are called “rapid response events” to help employees prepare for the transition, and s expect to meet with Serta Simmons employees in the next few days.
“Setting them up with unemployment benefits when they leave. All the important things they need to know about health care, medical benefits when they leave. And also connect them with training opportunities and employers .”
Since Wednesday’s announcement, the companies have already reached out to Iowa Works, expressing their desire to help displaced employees find new jobs.
Additionally, Arvidson has not only seen the state’s unemployment rate go down, he’s also noticed the increase in the labor force participation rate and has some ideas as to why.
“I think the options that are out there, especially if companies have increased the hourly wage, signing bonuses, things like that, more flexible working hours. I feel like there’s a lot of people who weren’t looking for work at first place and they now see this open and inviting job market.”
Iowa’s current unemployment rate was 3.3% in March.