The purpose of this paper is to explore the experiences of displaced female textile sector workers.
A qualitative approach to data collection and interpretation forms the methodological basis of the study. In‐depth interviews were conducted with 14 female employees who were laid off from a large textile manufacturing facility in a southeastern state. Participants were selected through the local community college where they returned to school after losing their jobs.
A phenomenological interpretation of the responses led to the development of three emergent thematic areas connecting similarities and differences that surfaced across the participants' narratives. Key issues within the thematic areas point to the need for each participant to come to terms with the job loss, both emotionally and financially, and to decide where she would go from there.
The study focuses on women employed at a single manufacturing facility and within a single state in the southeastern USA. Implications of the meanings of participants' experiences for their community and for the future of employment in the US textile sector are considered.
The study provides an interpretation of the impact of textile sector dynamics on the lives of displaced workers and the local community.
The paper offers insight into the human side of industry dynamics and declining manufacturing employment figures. It also sheds light on the extent to which some displaced textile sector workers have pursued the educational options made available through government programs designed to provide assistance with education and retraining.
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