After months of discussion between GE Transportation and its union, the company has begun its first round of 1,500 layoffs.

On Friday, UE Local 506 President Scott Slawson said that the first round of cuts will impact 400 workers.

According to GE, the layoffs are the result of lower than expected production volumes for 2016.

Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper and elected leaders are now bracing for a major blow to the Erie economy.

"I think everyone realizes this is sort of a crisis moment,” said Dahlkemper.  "Certainly all of us, myself, all those in economic development, and other elected officials are all very concerned about how this impact will be, certainly first on those families individually, then on the community as a whole."

 According to Dahlkemper, a number of measures are being taken to help displaced workers.  Dahlkemper says they can apply for funding, which will allow them to train for another career.  The county is also talking to other major employers, to find out who is in need of employees.

Dahlkemper says the key moving forward is to focus on the remaining jobs at GE Transportation.

"That's going to be another key piece that all of us need to be part of once these layoffs are done,” said Dahlkemper.  “How do we hold onto the 3,000 plus jobs that will be left and make sure we always have the GE presence in Erie?"