SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A $6 million grant will help retrain recently laid off workers in the Sacramento region and help them get them back on the job.

It was announced Wednesday that the Oak Park Coca-Cola plant will be joining the growing list of businesses closing shop in the Sacramento region. Another 60 employees will lose their jobs after the plant, which has been in operation for more than 70 years, shuts down.

“It was just disappointing,” said Les Linton.

For employees like Linton, it’s a tough blow. He’s worked at the Coca-Cola plant for 41 years.

“I half expected it, but I didn’t want it to happen,” he said.

It’s just the latest blow to the Sacramento job market. Over the past year, several employers have shut down major operations – Campbell’s, Comcast and Hostess are among some.

“There’s 16 companies that in last year or so that has been affected,” said Terri Carpenter.

Because of the massive hit, there is some major help coming. Carpenter is with Sacramento Works, a free county job program, which has received nearly $6 million to help laid off employees get back to work.

“With this additional infusion of funding, we will be able to give these individuals training, classroom training, on the job training,” said Carpenter.

The grant will be able to serve nearly 1,000 employees from approved companies — Coca-Cola was just added to that list.

“We try to help them find the best transition for them,” said Carpenter.

It’s a transition that will have to happen for some. Coca-Cola employees say they will not be transferred elsewhere.

“We have to reapply for whatever we want to do,” one Coca-Cola employee said.

It’s still unclear when the bottling plant — operating since 1936 — will close. However, the closure should not affect jobs at nearby plants in Natomas and Modesto.


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