February 2, 2013

Life after Hostess

While they hope that the Biddeford bakery will reopen, those who lost their jobs are trying to move forward.

By Gillian Graham ggraham@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 2)

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BOB PRESCOTT: A former route sales driver, Prescott, 59, will begin a truck driving course this week and is excited about the new opportunity.

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SUE TAPLEY: A former mixer, Tapley, 58, hopes to return to the bakery, but has created a resume and applied for jobs online for the first time in her life.

Photos by Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

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"I'm not surprised," he said. "Twenty-five years ago you'd buy the Sunday paper and open it to see eight or 10 pages of jobs. Now you buy it and under 'general help,' there's maybe 10 jobs. They are the same jobs that have been there forever."

Many jobs are part time or aren't in southern Maine, Bourgault said.

"It doesn't really do you any good to apply for a job in Bangor that doesn't pay very well," he said. "After you bought gas and the toll for the turnpike, you'd be working for nothing."

While he remains hopeful the Biddeford bakery will reopen and a new company will rehire laid-off workers, Bourgault is not waiting for that to happen. He has applied for retraining through a program for veterans, but is still waiting to hear back about what opportunities are available. That could include going to community college.

"Just because I applied for it doesn't for sure mean I'm going to do it," he said. "I just have to take the first step."


Prescott, the former route sales driver, decided to take his first step into a new career about a month into unemployment. He had spent enough time looking online for jobs to know he'd need to train for another career to make enough to give him and his wife the retirement they look forward to.

For now, his wife works extra hours in coffee shops at Maine Medical Center and they have put vacations on hold. They don't carry any debt and so far have avoided dipping into their savings. Nora Prescott cashed in some vacation time to fill the couple's backup oil tank to make sure they would have heat through the winter.

After meeting with the CareerCenter and Goodwill Workforce Industries, Prescott decided to pursue a commercial driver's license that will allow him to drive semi trucks -- the type of jobs he sees openings for. His $4,000 training course is paid for through Goodwill Workforce Industries.

"I've always enjoyed driving. It's always been a fun thing," he said. "I don't have a doubt I'll like it."

This week, Prescott will start 170 hours of schooling with ProDrive in Westbrook. Eighty of those hours will be behind the wheel of a truck.

If Prescott is hired right out of driving school, it will likely be for an out-of-state route that will take him away from home. He said he's confident the sacrifice of being away from his family will be worth it during his retirement years.

Prescott said he is both excited and grateful for the opportunity to retrain for a new career.

"How could I not be grateful for having this opportunity? My wife is willing to make these personal sacrifices," he said. "I can't be more thankful."

Staff Writer Gillian Graham can be contacted at 791-6315 or at:


Twitter: grahamgillian


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MICHAEL BOURGAULT: Bourgault, 54, has applied for a retraining program for military veterans.

Gabe Souza


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