St. Cloud plant's closing means over 300 workers with disabilities will lose jobs

February 27, 2019 06:23 PM

When appliance manufacturer Electrolux closes its St. Cloud plant by the end of this year, about 900 workers will be out of a job.

That includes more than 300 employees with disabilities who work for the company.


David Williamsen is one of those employees. He has worked for 20 years with WACOSA - a nonprofit in Waite Park that provides jobs and training for people with barriers to employment.

RELATED: Electrolux workers to get federal assistance amid layoffs

Williamsen has cerebral palsey. Most of his work with WACOSA has been for Electrolux.

"This is the only job I've known, and I like it," he said.

When news spread Electrolux would be ceasing operations in the area, Williamsen and many others were upset.

"Please help us, because I want to do more work," he pleaded. 

Williamsen isn't alone.

"Electrolux is a very significant part of the work we do," WACOSA Executive Director Steve Howard said.

But Howard said his team has been busy brainstorming other work options for employees.

"We have a ready, capable, high-quality, incredibly dedicated group of individuals that are amazing workers," Howard said. 

While no specifc date has yet been set, WACOSA said the jobs are expected to disappear this year.

The goal is to replace them by getting other area businesses involved with a group of workers Howard said often get overlooked.

"We are excited to partner with a business out there, or multiple businesses, that would serve their needs, and our work needs as well," he said. 

Howard hopes businesses having difficulties finding workers due to the state's labor shortage will turn to WACOSA's workforce for help.


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Jessica Miles

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