BELVIDERE, Ill. (WTVO) — The idling of the Belvidere Assembly Plant last month left thousands of Stellantis employees without work. On Friday, the United Auto Workers union hosted a job fair.

Over 200 people went to see what options were available to them from 30 different local employees in various industries.

Tito Rodriguez worked at the former Chrysler plant for 26 years. He said he and many other employees thought they were going to retire there, but now they are faced with finding another job or relocating.

“I just wanted to see what kind of other employers are in the area,” Rodriguez said. “I know some of the basic ones, but there are some I had no idea, who were in Rockford or Boone county.”

Rodriguez said he was surprised at the number of employers attending the event who were looking for workers.

Rosecrance senior vice president of human resources, Kristin Hamblock, said they were equally surprised by how many potential candidates came through.

“We knew about the number of people getting laid off and hoped to see a lot of faces, so I am glad that we are able to be here, to see a bunch of other employers, to help the community,” she said.

Mike Wright, with Hughes Resources, said his company is hoping to fill 20 positions, and that the hiring event gives people hope.

“Our goal is to get people back into the workforce, get them a job, get their life in gear,” he said.

Rodriguez hopes others will take advantage of local opportunities.

“Don’t sit idle, like [the plant],” he advised. “Get up and start moving. Dig. Research. See what you can come up with, to benefit you from this transition. Don’t just sit idle.”

Another hiring event is expected to take place next month.