Announced Trane Closure Leads To Job Search Assistance

FORT SMITH (KFSM)- After recent news of the manufacturing company, Trane, closing its doors at one of its Fort Smith locations, several organizations around the area are working to help those employees find jobs.

Nearly 250 Trane employees will be without a job after the heating and air unit manufacturer closes, but the Crawford County Adult Education Center is trying to help ease the job search process.

"If workers don't have a GED, if they want to upgrade their skills or want to go to college, we have college classes here and we've now started a skills class," education center director Debbie Faubus-Kendrick said. "We also have connections with businesses and industries in the area that we try to connect them with."

Larry Hoover said he was in the same shoes as those at Trane after working for Saint-Gobain in Fort Smith for 10 years, the company decided to close its doors, too.

"It was kind of like the end of the road, the end of the world almost," Hoover said. "I planned to retire there, so it was hard."

People at the Crawford County Adult Education Center said there is a light at the end of the tunnel, though, and finding that light is as simple as walking through the center's front door.

"The main thing I hear from a lot of people is it's hope and that's all we can offer somebody," Faubus-Kendrick said. "We help them through, we'll help them through the steps. They just have to come through the front door."

Hoover said times have changed since he last applied for a job, leading him to take classes and further his education in order to get that next job.

"It was kind of hard to begin with being as old as I am," Hoover said. "I am going back to school, but [the center] has really made me feel good here. This is one of the best things that's happened to me."

Now, Hoover is on his way to a GED and a college education, hoping to work in heating and air.

The Western Arkansas Workforce Center said it also has protocols in place to assist employees whenever a facility closes in the area.

Trane released a statement in February saying it plans to move operations at their facility on Zero Street to four other locations in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Texas. Manufacturing at Trane's commercial plant on Aire Circle in Fort Smith will continue.