Fifty-one BlueScope Buildings employees are set to be jobless following the closing of the organization’s Varco-Pruden engineering office in Turlock, the company informed county officials in a letter earlier this week.
BlueScope Buildings is a global company that manufactures prefabricated metal buildings, and purchased Varco-Pruden Buildings in February 2008. Since then, the Varco-Pruden engineering office has supported customer needs at the 530 S. Tegner Road location.
According to the letter sent to the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors, the company plans to close the Turlock facility’s doors on or around March 3, 2017, and all affected employees have been notified of the expected closure date. As the employees have no job-bumping privileges, they will not be able to take the jobs of workers with less experience.
Opportunity Stanislaus communications manager Amber Edwards stated that since the announcement of the facility’s closure, multiple employers throughout the area have expressed interest in hiring the Varco-Pruden engineers who will be laid off come March. Of the 51 job cuts, many are engineers, engineering technicians, project managers, a systems specialist and a regional finance manager, an attachment included with the letter revealed.
“They’re kind of in a fortunate situation in that they’re really in demand,” said Edwards, who added engineering jobs throughout the county are on the rise. “There are a lot of direct opportunities for engineers.”
Opportunity Stanislaus is prepared to help if any of the facility’s employees are unable to find new jobs. The organization’s Rapid Response program is a service provided to dislocated workers after layoffs are announced, and provides a provision of resources to the employees, information about filing for employment and connectivity to Alliance Worknet, the county’s resource for unemployed and underemployed. Alliance Worknet provides workshops, skills assessments, referrals and training.
“We receive a notification letter that lets us know when things like this are going on,” said Edwards of the Varco-Pruden facility’s upcoming lay off. “We work to ensure that employees know their options.”
Options for these particular employees include finding work with another company if possible, such as the several who have expressed interest, or bidding for jobs with BlueScope in Visalia, where the company also has a manufacturing facility.
“It would be a bit of a commute, but there is always that option for them,” said Edwards.
According to Edwards, the City of Turlock is coordinating a job fair in January for the laid off employees, and is working with employers to determine which of them are able to hire new engineers immediately and which will be a source of jobs for engineers in the future.
Despite the Varco-Pruden facility’s closure, Edwards said that the situation does not reflect the current economic state of the county.
“The economy is doing great,” she said. “Unemployment is down and there is no shortage of jobs, which is certainly true in engineering. Skilled jobs are becoming more frequent as the economy grows.”