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The Loss of Hino Motors (Editorial)

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The city of Marion has taken a body blow with the decision by Hino Motors to close its manufacturing plant there, a plant that employs 1,300 workers. 

If there’s a saving grace, it’s that the shutdown of one of Crittenden County’s largest employers will occur in stages, according to Hino officials, and layoffs won’t begin until after the first of next year. This gradual closure of the auto parts facility gives the administration of Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders plenty of time to respond.

Another saving grace is the relative proximity of Marion to steel-manufacturing companies in Osceola and Blytheville, which are less than an hour away. These companies need workers, and Hino workers will need jobs. We hope to see the Arkansas Department of Commerce and area educational institutions work together to retrain the Hino employees for jobs in the steel and other industries.

As Arkansas Northeast College President Christopher Heigel noted in a recent Arkansas Business Executive Q&A feature, “As a community college, it’s our job to anticipate economic trends and build our communities in ways that address those potential challenges.” 

The Hino closure is unfortunately not a potential challenge but a real and looming challenge. Now the state must address it.

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