Hundreds of KC job openings available for laid-off Procter & Gamble workers, metro job expert says

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- The announcement to shut down the Procter & Gamble plant in KCK comes just one week after Harley Davidson said it will close its KCMO plant, which affected roughly 800 workers.

Although nearly 1,100 total layoffs in a week's time isn't welcome news, metro employment experts insist there is a silver lining and plenty of reasons for those affected to stay in the community.

Dish soaps many of us use come off the factory line in Kansas City every day at the century old Procter & Gamble plant. It's a job many take pride in, with good pay and benefits.

"It's benefited me and my family quite a bit," P&G employee Pete Curtis said. "I've worked here 10 years. I've been blessed to work at a place like Procter & Gamble. People don't know it, but once they understand it, Procter & Gamble is one of them top-tier jobs to have."

But now that the P&G factory in KCK plans to close its doors, the nearly 300 workers there are left to wonder what's next.

"They have families, relatives, houses -- we don't want that to be uprooted," said Clyde McQueen, president of the Full Employment Council.

Much like workers at Harley Davidson, employees from Procter & Gamble have highly sought-after skilled manufacturing abilities. The Full Employment Council said right now, local manufacturing-related employers have 1,500 open jobs that are ready and waiting for those soon-to-be laid off.

"Quite frankly, some companies have not expanded as much because they couldn't figure out how they could get the labor," McQueen said.

Full Employment Council is fast-tracking its process for workers from both Harley and P&G, offering free job placement help and re-training if needed. It will also offer extended and weekend hours at some locations.

"They are good skilled artisans in their trade, and we need to keep those persons here in our community," McQueen said.

Curtis is glad he's got at least two years to find new work and is glad there are ample opportunities to stay in Kansas City.

"Just wish the best to all my co-workers," he said. "It's a bitter pill to swallow right now, but yet we have time to make plans for our future."

There are a number of small businesses near the P&G factory. Those FOX4 talked with believe they will survive despite the loss of convenient customers nearby.

One big community impact will likely be felt through charitable giving.

P&G workers in Kansas City have routinely given nearly $200,000 a year to the United Way of Wyandotte County. Workers hope other big businesses in the area will step in to fill that void.

FOX4 has also learned at least two local companies supply plastic materials to the Procter & Gamble plant in Kansas City. We reached out to them to see if the plant shutdown will have an effect on their operations, but only received a response from one.

A spokesperson for Consolidated Container Company says, "You are correct in your statement that CCC’s partner, P&G, will be closing their Kansas City, KS facility.  For further details on that please contact P&G directly.  We are sorry to see them move their operations elsewhere, but will continue to service our partner of over 20 years until that time.  We are very appreciative P&G gave us such a long notice.  As of this morning we have begun our search for new partners to fill the capacity in our Lenexa, KS facility and do not expect to have any disruption in our production schedule in the near future."