JEFFERSON CITY, MO. — The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) has recently been assisting employees affected by the Tyson Foods’ closings at the Dexter and Noel, Mo., plants with job fairs and other resources.
Since mid-September MDHEWD has had team members available on-site at its mobile job centers in Dexter and Noel. The last day for the mobile job centers for Dexter and Noel were Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, respectively.
Additionally, the department coordinated a job fair on Sept. 12-13 in Dexter. Over 300 workers attended and mingled with the 32 prospective employers at the fair. Following the event, MDHEWD conducted a Resource Day on Sept. 21, where nearly a dozen state, regional and local resource agencies assisted Tyson employees.
“Over the course of our job and resource fairs the last month in Noel, we had the opportunity to help a total of 500 workers and had 40 employers and resources participate,” said Heather Dolce, assistant commissioner for communications and outreach at MDHEWD.
Tyson Foods announced the closures back in August. In a statement at the time, Donnie King, president and chief executive officer of Tyson, said the difficult decision demonstrates the company’s commitment to bold action and operational excellence as the company looks to lower costs and improve capacity utilization.
On Oct. 3, Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey sent a letter to King, asking Tyson to sell the two Missouri poultry processing facilities.
“These plants are critical to local communities,” Bailey wrote. “The City Administrator of Dexter, for example, recently pointed out that Dexter ‘has been home to an active poultry production industry since the 1890’s, and the current plant location has been active since the Swift Poultry Company opened in the 1930s.’ Closure will be devastating to the local economy. The same is true in Noel, where the plant employs 1,500 workers in a city whose population is 2,100.”
According to David Wyman, the Dexter city administrator, the Dexter plant closure would impact nearly 700 workers, along with chicken growers, farmers, truckers and others in the poultry supply chain.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley also spoke with King, according to the senator’s X account. Hawley said that King indicated that he was willing to sell the Missouri facilities to interested parties, including competitors.