He recognized Mayor Mike Allen, City Manager Lance Howerton, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beth Henary Watson, and the Industrial Foundation’s Richard Ball for visiting Austin to meet with state legislators. He said State Reps. Jim Keffer and Phil King, along with State Sen. Craig Estes, also helped make the case for keeping the local unit open.
“I can’t say enough about the community,” he said, calling Mineral Wells “a great friend to CCA and the facility.”
McKennon also discussed the future of both the soon-to-be empty prison building and its employees facing unemployment.
Beginning the week of June 24, he said the prison will begin hosting job fairs and invited any local employers with openings to contact the prison for more information.
“We still have 228 employees,” he explained. “A lot are degreed,” he added, including 30 teachers.
He said CCA operates several facilities within a few hours driving distance, adding the two closes units are in Jacksboro and Bridgeport.
“For employees that cannot relocate, there are about 50 jobs locally available” in those two facilities, he explained. With another prison in Dallas facing the same fate, though, he said as many as 500 displaced workers could be competing for those positions.
As for the prison itself, McKennon said it is being considered for a federal contract, though three other empty facilities are also involved in that process.
Even if it is chosen, he explained, “that is not something that happens overnight.”