YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Friday marks one year since Northside Regional Medical Center in Youngstown closed, putting 400 people out of a job. Since then, the Valley lost several businesses and hundreds of other jobs.
“It’s like a death, remembering a death, and everything that was lost with that death,” said Laurie Hornberger, who spent ten years at the hospital as a nurse.
She also fought for fair wages and better working conditions as president of Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association.
Hornberger has spent the last year trying to adjust to life without Northside Medical Center.
She said with one hospital left in the city, the community feels this loss the most.
“That causes them to travel and they have limited services. That affects them.”
Northside Medical Center isn’t alone. In the past year, the Valley has seen thousands of jobs lost with GM Lordstown and its supporting businesses, a surprise closing of Falcon Trucking and, most recently, The Vindicator shutting down.
Mahoning County Auditor Ralph Meacham said an issue is the Valley has historically been focused on heavy industry. He compared that to cities like Pittsburgh and Cleveland, which have more economic diversity.
As industry and population evolve over time, Meacham said our region needs to follow suit.
“We have to be aware what our resources are, how sustainable those resources are and how we fit that into our future.”
On Friday, Ohio reported a slight increase — one-tenth of a percent — in unemployment from July to August. The rest of the country saw unemployment drop.
Jeannie Mulichak was one person looking for work — until recently.
Mulichak was a nurse at Northside Hospital, planning to retire in five years. She said the closure made it tough for her and many others to get hired elsewhere.
“A lot of facilities don’t want to hire someone who’s that close, to spend the money on orienting.”
Meacham said all of the closings in the past year were entirely unexpected and it was just a matter of chance they all happened so close together.