Times are tough in Pictou County right now.

Hundreds of jobs will be lost in the area in the next 12 months as layoffs and shutdowns at some big employers cripple the local economy.

About 150 employees of the soon-to-be shuttered Convergys call centre met to find out their options for the future on Thursday night.

Next month, more than 300 employees at Convergys will be out of work.

Convergys meeting

About 150 employees of the soon-to-be shuttered Convergys call centre met Thursday to find out their options for the future. (CBC)

"It's actually very difficult, not just for me but for a lot of people. We don't really know where we're going or what we’re going to be doing next and we're hoping this meeting will provide some next steps for us," said Convergys employee Terry Megeney.

Convergys isn't the only big employer letting people go.

The Michelin plant in Granton has already started a major restructuring. About 200 jobs are already gone and another 300 will be cut by this time next year.

"We need to help the businesses that already exist here so they can do better and grow and add employees," said Jack Kyte with the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.

'We're done. The last guy out turn out the lights, roll up the carpets, that's what's happening.' -  Lorne McLean

The Northern Pulp Mill is one of the region's biggest employers, and it too is in jeopardy.

There have been calls for it to be shut down due to environmental concerns. That could mean more big job losses in an area already in dire straits.

"We need to rethink about how we work and be more dedicated to our jobs. The new generation has kind of become lackadaisical about working and I think we need to go back to our roots and we will survive," said Pictou County resident Mary Jean Campbell.

"We're done. The last guy out turn out the lights, roll up the carpets, that's what's happening," said Pictou County resident Lorne McLean.

McLean says one child is in Halifax and the other is in Regina.

"Good for them because they've got a chance. They didn't have it here."

The job front isn’t entirely hopeless in the region. The possibility of some new jobs coming to a proposed medical marijuana facility in Stellarton could employ between 30 to 300 people. 

Vida Cannabis Corp. has been setting up its operation in the old 315,000-square foot Clairtone Sound Corporation building on Acadia Avenue. But it’s not a done deal yet.

Vida Cannabis must have its facility renovated and in place before it can apply for a cultivation licence from Health Canada.