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Link to August 8 Wisconsin State Journal article, "Rock County feeling increasing ripples from GM departure".
Excerpt: The effects of the plant closure on the 160,000 people of Rock County go beyond unemployment. Families who provided financial support for others are no longer able to, said Nancy Brooks, prevention manager of the nonprofit Exchange Family Resource Center in Janesville.
“Some of the families we work with in the past may have called grandma if they were short on rent so they don’t get evicted,” Brooks said. “Now grandma doesn’t have the extra cash to help.”
Lawrence Molnar, associate director for the Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy at the University of Michigan, has studied about 50 regions in six states effected by the restructuring of the automotive industry. Rock County, he said, should work on developing new small businesses and not count on luring a large manufacturer to replace GM.
“The area will not go back to low-skill, high-wage jobs — those days are gone,” Molnar said.
County residents have learned a painful lesson about relying too heavily on one industry, said Vic Grassman, Janesville’s director of economic development.
“GM is a great example of when you have all of your eggs in one basket, and it goes down, there are significant problems in the area,” Grassman said. “Hopefully we can diversify our investments, and it will result in a stronger local economy.”