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Hope for displaced workers

Selma took some hard news with the announcement of the closing of The Cigar Factory.

Right now, with the initial announcement and 213 people looking for work, the factory’s closure seems like another dark cloud has descended on us.

The Cigar Factory — the tobacco industry — has seen increasing hard times since the tobacco lawsuits of several years ago raised greater awareness of the dangers of smoking. Taxes on the product have risen. Tobacco is one of those products that has run a cycle, from high to low.

While the facts of the industry’s low ebb prove little solace to those without jobs, local officials realize that people need and want to work. Officials in Dallas County, Selma and those with the Selma and Dallas County Economic Development Authority realize the need for these three government and economic entities to work together to attract more jobs in the area.

Indeed, last week’s announcement of the arrival of a new industry that will invest $25 million and 175 jobs over the next two years provides a foundation upon which the county, city and EDA may work.

Officials in county, city and the EDA have said they have more prospects coming in all along to look at Craig Industrial Park and other areas in the area.

Wallace Community College Selma stands ready to assist workers to retrain for available jobs. Recently, the college announced an online skills assessment that would allow workers and employers to match skills needed with training to yield a better-prepared workforce.

The people who are faced with unemployment are good workers, say those who have hired and supervised them.

It’s a hard time for them.

But, they shouldn’t give up. There’s hope around the corner.