For Mayor Joe Sinnott and Erie County Executive Kathy Dahlkemper, the announcement came without warning.
"I had no idea this was coming,” said Dahlkemper. “I was shocked when I got the first phone call."
Dahlkemper and Sinnott both say that GE Transportation gave them no indication that the company would be closing the locomotive production plant in Erie, resulting in the elimination of 575 jobs.
"Getting the news was really a punch in the gut,” said Dahlkemper. “Not just personally, but for our community as a whole."
Both Sinnott and Dahlkemper say they are focused on helping the workers who will be losing their jobs.
At the city level, Sinnott says all they can do is make Erie a place where GE Transportation wants to stay.
"That's what I think our role is,” said Sinnott. “Beyond that, the other decisions are made at the corporate levels outside of our control."
At the county level, Dahlkemper says she will work with the state and other agencies to help provide training opportunities for the displaced employees
"What we have to figure out, is how we market these very, very highly-skilled people,” said Dahlkemper. “People who can make anything that is made in this world, we can make it here in Erie.”
While the job losses are expected to have a negative impact on the Erie economy, Sinnott and Dahlkemper expect Erie to recover.
"Obviously, it has a great impact on this community and we hope that it doesn't happen,” said Sinnott. “But if it does, I don't think it means the death of Erie.”
"In the long run, we will come together, we will rally around those individuals,” said Dahlkemper. “We will make sure they have the resources they need to move forward, and we as a community, we will find our way forward with or without GE.”
Copyright 2017 Erie News Now. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.