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October 27, 2011

It’s Not All Tech

by Andrea Dubeckyj
Schneiders in Waterloo Region

Waterloo Region’s industrial sector will give Schneider’s employees somewhere to go.

As a lifelong resident of Kitchener-Waterloo, it came as a real punch in the gut when I heard the news that Maple Leaf Foods had decided to close their Schneider’s plant.  I’ve heard that the writing was on the wall for a while now, and that this decision wasn’t unexpected in light of the re-organization at Maple Leaf Foods, but that doesn’t seem to take the sting from the official announcement.

Many of us know someone who works there, whether it’s a neighbor, friend or family member.  I feel horrible for the employees, some have given their entire working careers to Schneider’s and are now forced to consider the “what now?” question.

In other communities, the closure of this type of plant would be devastating to the local economy and few opportunities would be available to former employees.  If there is a glimmer of hope we can take away from this announcement, it’s that we live in a vibrant Region with a wide range of job opportunities that go beyond typical desk jobs.

Although we typically only hear news about our tech community, we have a diverse range of manufacturing, processing and distribution operations that are thriving in today’s economy.  We often overlook the accomplishments of our local industrial companies, focusing more of our attention on the trendier tech who and it’s a real disservice to their success.

With companies like Toyota, Babcock & Wilcox, Com Dev and an emerging food processing industry in our Region, we’re fortunate to have opportunities for workers that might not want a job in an office building.  Our industrial companies have proven very resilient at adapting to the ever-changing global economy and we have world leaders located in our Region that continue to grow and hire new employees.

 It’s not going to happen overnight, but as one very storied chapter in our region comes to an end, perhaps we can find some comfort in knowing that another will surely open.






Author: Justin Lavoie

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