Rural town braces for Tyson plant closure as manufacturing booms elsewhere
The closure of the Tyson plant in a rural town is a classic example of the wide-ranging impact of the trend of manufacturing moving away from rural and small towns to larger cities and suburbs. The closure of such a manufacturing anchor not only eliminates jobs, it also results in the overall decline of the local economy. Local leaders are scrambling to create new job opportunities to replace the ones lost with the Tyson plant, and although this might seem like an overwhelming task, there have been success stories. Towns like Greenville, NC and Sioux Center, IA have experienced a rebirth of sorts by encouraging entrepreneurs to enter the space and take advantage of the local resources or resources outside of town. Examples of such businesses include the revival of the local food industry, woodworking, and craftmanship, as well as technology businesses that utilize the talent base of the local population. In addition to the new job creation initiatives underway, local leaders will have to be proactive in helping those affected by the Tyson plant closure to transition into new roles. Providing digital literacy and job search skills training is one way leaders are helping to upskill the local population in the hopes of helping them transition into a new career. Local leaders also understand the importance of building relationships with other towns and cities in the region to create a better regional economy and provide job opportunities that may have relocated. It is clear that the closure of the Tyson plant in a rural town is more than just a loss of jobs, but also a disruption to a way of life. With the right combination of local and regional efforts, it is possible to turn this crisis into an opportunity for the town to reinvent itself.