J.D. Irving says it plans to fill 7,900 positions across Canada and in the United States over the next three years, with 89 per cent of those positions in Atlantic Canada.

The company says 65 per cent of those jobs are in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia alone, with more than 3,700 hires forecasted for New Brunswick from 2016 to 2018.

The announcement comes just days after potash mine shutdown in Picadilly, near Sussex. 

“We understand that the community had experienced some very difficult news,” Mary Keith, Vice President of Communications for J.D. Irving,Limited. “We certainly want to help and we have a need. We are hiring and are looking for qualified people.”

The forecast is the result of retirements, anticipated business growth, and normal workforce turnover, said the company in a statement issued Thursday.

The company says the highest job opportunities include retail business, manufacturing operations, shipbuilding, supply chain, logistics and engineering.

It’s also promising more co-op programs with more than 2,000 paid internship and co-op work terms in the next three years.

J.D. Irving is not alone in making overtures toward the laid off potash workers.

Other companies have stepped forward in a similar fashion, which could help soften the economic blow to the area.

Another mining company, K + S Potash Canada, says it needs one hundred people at a new facility in Saskatchewan, leaving a mixed blessing for Sussex residents.

“I will say, we don’t prefer to see people leave the province,” says Sussex Mayor Marc Thorne. “We really can’t afford to lose anyone, but our concern has to be with those individuals and families who have lost their work.”

Government officials see a silver lining during a bad week for New Brunswick.

“If there’s a little consolation, it’s that companies like JDI, and others according to the mayor,” says New Brunswick Mines Minister Donald Arseneault, “have phoned him, are really interested in helping out and finding new opportunities.”

J.D. Irving will hold a job fair next Thursday, in a community where a lot of skilled workers are now without work.

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.