McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

September 3, 2011

Simonton closing to make tremendous impact on area

Shari Cooper
Submitted report

McALESTER — Editor:

I wanted to give you a statement on behalf of MPower Economic Development.

The Simonton Windows announcement is extremely hard news for all McAlester residents.  Simonton Windows is one of our largest employers and their exit will obviously have a tremendous impact on our local economy.  Just this week, I had been in touch with both the local plant manager and operations manager. There was no indication that this announcement would be forthcoming. I’m sure it was a shock to all the local employees, as it is for every resident in this town.  

MPower Economic Development is currently working with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce to develop a strategy for moving forward with Simonton Windows, the employees, and all workforce partners in our area.  We want to ensure that every employee understands they are not in this alone. We will work to make sure they are helped through the process — starting with their unemployment applications to career placement, and the development of a local career fair with other companies in town.  

McAlester has seen its share of tough times — and what hasn’t killed us has only made us stronger.  Our community cares, our people are resilient, and we WILL get through this together.  

Editor’s note: Shari Cooper is the executive director of MPower Economic Development.