The recession has shown that in order to survive you need to embrace change.
Possibly the most notable sign of the recession hitting locally was the closing of the Irwin Tools Vise-Grip plant in Dewitt.
Many of its employees thought they would be there forever until it shut down after 70 years of operation.
For hundreds of workers in Dewitt the Vise Grip plant was a second home. It was for Bonnie Vergith for more than 25 years.
"We cut the teeth and the jaws. You basically put one part at a time in the machine and then most machines make over 5,000 parts a day," said Bonnie Vergith.
In 2008 it all stopped. The company moved the plant overseas. The town took a hit.
"Dewitt is a dying town now. It's just going downhill," said Vergith.
"It's hard to see the difference in what the town is now. Driving down the main street it used to be parked full and now you drive down there there are a couple vehicles. It's hard to see," she added.
300 people lost their jobs. Vergith was one of them. But she didn't sit still. She got back on her feet by enrolling at Southeast Community College-Beatrice. It is there that she fulfilled her lifetime dream of going to college.
"I wanted to take full advantage of what they had to offer me. I didn't want to go back into another factory," Vergith said.
Vergith studied office with a medical emphasis. She graduated in December and got a job at Diabetic Outreach in Lincoln. She is a success story. Hers isn't the only one.
"You really have to take your hat off to those students. When you think about working somewhere for 25 years and then walking into school when you're 40, 45 or 50 or older, the apprehension had to be there," said Southeast Community College- Beatrice Campus Director, Bob Morgan.
Of the 300 former Vise Grip workers, many went back to school to learn a new skill.
"Those students came to us with a work ethic that helped them succeed. Quite honestly the employers that get those graduates are going to be very fortunate because not only do they now have a new skill but they have a work history behind them and they have basically a desire to work and will continue to work and will make an excellent employee," Morgan said.
Working at the medical office is a change of life for Vergith.
"Well I wear clean clothes for one thing. And they stay clean."
Another big change -- technology. She runs a machine she had never worked with before. A computer. And she says going back to school made all the difference.
"A lot of self worth that I just improved myself and over 50 years old I can do it," Vergith said.
The mayor of Dewitt says Prairie View Industries of Fairbury owns the old Vise Grip building. It was leasing out the building for storage.