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Prairie Farms shifting Peoria plant to distribution, jobs will be eliminated

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PEORIA (WEEK) -- Production jobs will be eliminated over two phases at the Prairie Farms facility in Peoria, as they announce operational changes due to market conditions and supply and demand.

According to the City of Peoria in their conversations with Prairie Farms they have learned about 62 jobs will be eliminated.

The first phase of jobs will be eliminated on July 31, according to a statement from the company.

"Our difficult decision to transfer production to other Prairie Farms plants was made only after a long and careful review of options," said company spokesperson Darin Copeland "It was not a reflection of the work of our employees."

Kevin Evans, the Senior Economic Engagement Specialsit for the City of Peoria said they are there to help impacted employees by trying to match the skills they already have with employers that need them.

“We’ve actually reached out to some employers that might have some specific needs for some of these job titles and we’re going to be working through some of that in the coming days and weeks." said Evans

One of the specific jobs impacted is called CIP or Clean In Place, a position Evans said is in high demand due to COVID-19.

"This is one of those job titles that is directly impacted by this announcement and so there is a large opportunity for people that have expertise in cleaning not only equipment but we are seeing that expand to surfaces, offices, and a whole myriad of environments where cleaning and sanitation are a high priority."

Some positions, including truck drivers, distribution workers, sales and administrative personnel, will continue to operate the distribution facility.

Daily delivery of milk and dairy from other company plants will continue at Peoria. There will be no disruption of delivery services or product availability to the Peoria area, Copeland said.

"The more opportunity there is to collaborate even in the difficult times, the easier those transitions can be." said Evans

Some useful tools for impacted employees can be found at Grow Peoria; including links to the IDES, Illinois Job Link. Or you can reach them by phone at 309.494.8640, or email economicdevelopment@peoriagov.org

Kaitlin Pearson

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