Thousands impacted as oil refinery and hospital announce closures

Thousands of people will be impacted as Philadelphia Energy Solutions and Hahnemann University Hospital announced they will close.

READ MORE: South Philadelphia oil refinery to close after fire, explosionHahnemann University Hospital to close in September, citing lossesHealthcare workers' union calls for Gov. Wolf to intervene in Hahnemann closure

Workers showed up to the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Wednesday after learning this could be one of their last shifts on the job. More than 1,000 workers are said to be laid off within a month.

Down the block from the refinery, Jerry Dati has been serving up homemade ice cream and water ice since the mid-’80s. The impact of a refinery closure is a domino effect across the South Philly neighborhood. Many of Dati's customers come from the refinery.

"This neighborhood is going to feel it," FOX 29's Chris O'Connell asked. Dati replied, "Absolutely, I mean 1,000 people around here is a lot of people."

Just hours later Wednesday, another bombshell dropped. The news came that Hahnemann University Hospital, which is one of the city's largest hospitals, will be closing on Sept. 6. 

Charlvetta Fischer, a sterilization technician, worries about her future and her family she supports.

“For real? What the hell am I going to do? I’m older now. It’s not easy to just jump into another job," she said.

Between the two closings, upwards of 4,000 jobs may be lost. Not to mention the families they support and the nearby businesses like newsstands, pizza places and valets whose jobs also depend on the hospital.

"I was disappointed, shocked. Just like a dream job for me. Now, it’s gone."  Darnell Billups is still in shock after just four months as a cook at the hospital, he’ll start looking for another job.

"One day at a time. Go online. Fill out applications, hope something good happens," he said.

Throughout the summer, Philadelphia Works, the City’s Workforce Development Board, and its partners will: 

  • Host PES- and Hahnemann-specific career fairs for displaced workers from the closing institutions in July. 
  • Engage same-sector/industry employers to identify and connect laid-off workers to current employment opportunities. 
  • Engage all employers, understanding that there may be opportunities for workers interested in transitioning to careers in related fields such as advanced manufacturing, logistics, or transportation.
  • Prepare PA CareerLink® Philadelphia centers to address the influx of workers that will be in need of unemployment and workforce services.   
  • Provide mobile career services and benefits access, realizing that laid off workers may be more comfortable receiving services and enrolling in benefits in a familiar environment such as union halls. 
  • Partner with employment search firms to support workers with specialized skills.