ST. CLOUD, Minn. — Nearly 900 employees who will be laid off by the planned closure of an Electrolux plant in central Minnesota will have access to additional help.
The U.S. Department of Labor has approved a petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance that will provide workers with long-term training and support when the St. Cloud plant shutters next year.
The program provides assistance to workers laid off from businesses hurt by foreign trade, such as offering job search allowances, relocation assistance, wage subsidies and apprenticeships, the St. Cloud Times reported .
"I am thrilled TAA was approved," said Joe Baratta, union shop chairman with the IAMAW, Local 623 that represents the St. Cloud workers. "It's good to know the feds can help all of us here find meaningful work. Many of us here were waiting for an answer and we now have one."
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development will manage the program, review worker applications and distribute funds.
The program will complement benefits workers can receive from the Dislocated Worker program and unemployment aid, said Sarah Saito, TAA supervisor with the state agency.
"We want to set people up for success and ensure that after they invest in their education and we invest in their education, that it's likely they're going to get employed when they are done," Saito said.
The TAA approval is essential to help the plant's workers and continue driving the region's economic development, said Democratic U.S. Sen. Tina Smith.
"It's important for the whole St. Cloud community to work together to help Electrolux employees," she said.
Electrolux, a home appliance company, announced in January plans to close the St. Cloud facility amid consolidation efforts. The plant employs about 860 workers.