Anderson Co. working to place employees after Belton plant announces closure

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BELTON, SC (WSPA) – A plant in Anderson County has announced they’ll be closing their doors after decades of operation in the community.

Hydro first opened in 1973 while it’s changed names over the last few decades, it’s been a staple as one of the largest employers in Belton, but the county is dedicated to helping the employees find new jobs in the area.

“Disbelief, I was shocked you know it’s like 19 years of your life just gone, that company is just so family oriented we are all a family,” said Donna Higdon who worked at Hydro for 19 years.

The company announced their closure on September 13th which meant their 170 employees needed to look for new work.

“I didn’t even know where to start I mean it was 20 years ago, it used to be you fill out an application handwritten, but now everything is online so it was a little intimidating,” Higdon said.

Almost immediately, members of the Anderson Co. Economic Development team helped in to teach the employees skills needed in the job search process.  

“Anderson County has a 2.8 percent unemployment rate and that’s full employment rate to us, and there are a lot of employers hiring so we reached out to those employers and employers reached out to us when the closing was announced,” said Teri Gilstrap with Anderson Co.

The county’s goal is to help employees find new jobs, continue their education or let them know of benefits they are eligible to receive.

On Thursday, the county and the company put together an opportunity to get the employees in front of hiring companies.

“I’m looking for something with 8 hours and on day shift because I’ve been on day shift for 30 some years so I’m not looking for no 12 hour shifts or nothing like that,” said Sidney Rucker who has worked at Hydro for 35 years.

As the area and industry grows, county leaders want to make sure their community is taken care of.

“I have a really good feeling after leaving today that sometime in the near future, I’m going to find something,” Higdon said.

The plant doesn’t have an official closure date, but the company leaders tell 7News they will shut down operations sometime after the first of the year.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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