Hutchinson city officials on Eaton closing: “A significant hit to the community”

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — Eaton has been an employer in Hutchinson for almost 30 years. City officials said Wednesday’s announcement is a huge disappointment to the community.

“Those employees have had a vested interest for a long time at that facility, and certainly our thoughts and concerns are with them,” said Kirk Johnson, interim president for Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce.

With Eaton’s closing, Kirk Johnson tells KSN there will be a significant hit to the community.

“The loss of 100 jobs means, roughly, $3 million dollars in payroll,” he said.

However, city officials believe there is a silver lining to the closing.

“There are businesses who are looking for skilled workers, they have been looking for them, they will continue to look for them,” said Johnson. “That presents an opportunity for displaced workers, over the next 9-10 months from Eaton, to find gainful employment.”

According to Eaton officials, since the announcement, local businesses have been calling about opportunities they have for those laid-off employees.

“Once we finish our discussions with the union leaders, we’ll be in a position to be trying to connect people with new opportunities. So we’d appreciate folks reaching out,” said Kelly Jasko, Eaton communication director.

Looking toward the future, city officials said they need to work with Eaton to find a way to make sure the facility stays a manufacturing or commercial space.

Eaton employees were given the say off today to process Wednesday’s announcement, according to Jasko.

She encourages employers to reach out to Eaton’s human resources manager, Jessica Hamm, at jessicahamm@eaton.com — if they have any employment opportunities.

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