The first round of United States Enrichment Corporation layoffs is expected later this month, and means hundreds of area residents with uncertain futures.
There is now a local effort to ease workers’ transitions from the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and brighten their futures.
Becky Willit has worked as a chemical operator at the PGDP for 30 years.
"What I do is I mark cylinders with a magnet to go from the cylinder storage yard to the buildings," she said.
Willit, like so many other employees carefully awaited ultimately unsuccessful contract negotiations between her employer – USEC – and the D-O-E, which owns the property. The 1,100 employee company had operated the plant for 20 years.
The Plant's closure led Willit and 100 fellow employees here to the West Kentucky Workforce Investment Board’s education fair where Dozens of vendors representing colleges and trade schools try to provide some suggestions for future careers. Willit is weighing her options.
"Perhaps going back to school for a while and then looking for other employment," she said.
Organizers say a career fair in Paducah is planned for September, before the second round of layoffs in mid-October. But for now, Willit is trying to cope with what her future may hold.
"It’s something I’ve been used to doing for so many years, and it’s going to be quite a drastic change," she said.