Wow, in the six years that I have worked for Walker County Schools, we have really seen industry here take a hit. I do not understand how our schools continue to grow like they are with all these large companies closing down.
When I first started teaching, the Sweetheart factory (that makes plastic drink cup lids) closed its doors. Just before that the K-mart closed. They both sit vacant today.
Then somewhere along the line the synthetics factory closed, the bus factory (Bluebird), carpet factory (Shaw), and appliance factory (Roper) all downsized their staffs.
A couple of months ago we lost a plant that made carpet padding (or maybe they recycled old carpet padding?) to a massive fire.
This morning's paper said that the Dow latex plant will be closing at the end of August.
I don't know what the statistics are for the rest of Walker County, but here in LaFayette, the average household income is $23,000. I can not begin to comprehend what is going on with the families that rely on these types of jobs because even with me quitting my job to SAHM, our household income surpasses that by more than ten thousand. But my heart aches for these families. Jeff and I were talking about where they could possibly go to find jobs now. The only options now (besides moving) seem to be driving to either Chattanooga, Rome, or Dalton, and with gas nearing or passing $4 around here, I don't even know if that is a good option.