Prosser Job Fair Draws Hundreds One Year After ConAgra Closes

Prosser Job Fair Draws Hundreds One Year After ConAgra Closes
PROSSER -- Experts say the economy is recovering, but those on the front lines of unemployment know there are a lot of people still struggling. It's already been almost a year since the Prosser ConAgra plant shut down, suddenly putting hundreds out of work.

So, did it impact the community as much as anticipated?

A job fair at the Benton PUD Building Thursday had dozens of people lined up at the doors, waiting for any chance to find work.

And local companies like The Barn Restaurant and Motel have noticed a definitely decline in business. Longtime waitress Koni Kern says ConAgra workers used to meet at The Barn once a month.

"On a Saturday there'd be 30 people in the bar for breakfast. Now, I get them maybe once every six months, and it's only six women."

Tourism is now a bigger part of the community's draw. But it often means the jobs that are available pay less, and are centered in customer service and hospitality.

Worksource helped organize this year's job fair, and says most ConAgra workers have either found other employment, or begun training for a new career path.