Creating jobs during COVID-19 pandemic in smaller Minnesota communities

The demand for medical ventilator components for those suffering from COVID-19 is driving new production at Chandler Industries facilities in Montevideo, Bethel and Long Prairie.

The company currently employs 250 workers in the states and is hiring during the pandemic due to the surge in need for medical parts.

"These jobs are critical not only to the small community but especially in this time when other companies are laying off, we're actually hiring,” said Don Alter, company president. “We are seeing a lot of interest from people looking for jobs."

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Chandler Industries anchored medical work for ventilators at their Montevideo facility in Chippewa County, 130 miles west of the Twin Cities.

“We saw demand increase 10 times the normal production,” Alder said.

The company changed production at their facilities in Bethel and Long Prairie to keep up with the new work in about a week.

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) website shows since mid-March in the three counties where the company operates — Anoka, Chippewa and Todd counties — that 28,510 workers have filed for unemployment benefits.

“Especially in these small communities where we can offer jobs," said Jonathan Atkinson, a marketing and sales coordinator. "Which, as we all know, is pretty rare so it's great to see.”