DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — After hundreds of Akorn workers in Decatur were unexpectedly laid off Wednesday, several community members are stepping up to help them find new jobs.

Former employees are still adjusting just 24 hours later. Many say they’re still in shock, but they’re ready for what lies ahead. Carla Stewart worked at Akorn for 18 years and said she’s moving forward with career experts.

“I lost my job with hardly any warning,” Cynthia Wise, a former employee, said. “Now, I’m looking for another one. I have a baby on the way so it’s been kind of stressful.”

Wise’s life is now changed after Akorn filed for bankruptcy and laid off all 450 Decatur employees.

Rep. Nikki Budzinski (D-IL) said she wants to work with the laid-off workers. Her office has been in contact with Decatur officials to help people find new work within Macon County.

Wise is working to get back on her feet and started by talking to companies at Millikin University’s career fair.

“It’s helping me not feel so lost. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known what to do,” Wise added.

Millikin University had scheduled a career fair for students and alumni. After hearing the news Wednesday, they expanded the fair to the laid-off workers. An official of Millikin University’s Center for Academic and Professional Performance told WCIA that 10 additional employers joined the fair within the last 24 hours to help the affected workers.

“We had this fair, we thought it was really appropriate for them to be able to come and talk to each individual table,” Carrie Pierson, Millikin’s academic support services dean, said.

Workforce Investment Solutions hosted two workplace development workshops Thursday. According to Rocki Wilkerson, executive director of the organization, they will host another two Friday. The workshops will help people file for unemployment, edit their resumes, brush up on computer skills, and further their education.

“It’s a very hard thing to to lose your job and try to regain how to move forward with it because so many people have been there for so long,” Wilkerson said.

Stewart said her next step is to find a job and help support her family. She thought she’d retire at Akorn one day.

“Maybe there’s some free schooling. I’ve wanted to go to school, I just don’t know what I want to do,” Stewart said.

Another job fair hosted by the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel is scheduled for next month.

Budzinski didn’t hold back her feelings.

“You can not leave a community in the dark of night like this and leave people just out in the wilderness without any support,” she said.

She wants to hold Akorn accountable at a federal level.

“You have to, first of all, be able to abide by the state law which is you need to give 60 days notice,” Budzinski said.

The Illinois Department of Labor opened an investigation into Akorn after not receiving that notice before permanent layoffs were made.

“I’d be open at the federal level to looking at how I can partner with the state to create more guidelines around what these companies need to be following,” Budzinski added.

The Illinois Department of Labor and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released a statement that they will investigate Akorn for violating the WARN Act.

An email from an IDOL official Thursday confirmed Akorn filed a WARN notification late Wednesday evening, after we reported state officials were investigating.

By Illinois law, companies laying off more than a third of their full-time workforce or 250 workers are supposed to give 60 days’ notice to state and local officials.