Battery manufacturer Enersys lays off 130 at Warrensburg plant

WARRENSBURG, Mo. - Just in time for the holidays, 130 manufacturing workers in Warrensburg, Mo., learned they have lost their jobs.

Battery manufacturer Enersys announced the cuts late last week, blaming a drop in demand. The pink slips have now created 130 sets of unique challenges.

Kathleen Kiener worked at Enersys for three years, and now wonders how she will feed the 60 animals on her 27 acres near Holden.

"Most of them are shelter animals, or abused or neglected animals and I've adopted them, and now I have to figure out how I'm going to take care of them," Kiener said.

She said the company told her it could not put her on a different shift other than her overnight position, so Kiener was let go. She now hopes to go back to school and train for a career in medical billing and coding.

The Workforce Development Board of Western Missouri is reaching out to former Enersys employees like Kiener. The rapid-response team has already touched base with 120 people, letting them know what help is available.

Development board executive director Pati Carter said Enersys is one of Warrensburg's largest employers, making the small town layoffs especially painful.

"There are so many other spinoff jobs that come from that company, so we knew that 125 to 130 layoffs was going to be major," Carter said.

Despite the layoffs, Carter said Johnson County's employment rate was showing improvement. It dropped from 7.6 percent in December 2011 to 5.8 percent for September 2012.

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