ABERDEEN, S.D. Less than a year after announcing layoffs, Molded Fiber Glass (MFG) says it's shutting down the entire facility. This will leave more than 400 people without a job. MFG announced plans this morning to close its doors in February next year.
MFG South Dakota broke ground back in 2007 and is the company's wind blade manufacturing plant. The closure, according to Senior Vice President David Giovannini, is the result of changes in market conditions.
"Our major customer has not been able to procure the orders at the level they had been," Giovannini said.
It also comes with the two tax bills in Congress that have a potential impact on the wind industry.
"What has happened is our primary customer has seen that, plus their order level and they at this point feel that they don't have a need for blades," Giovannini said.
MFG makes their own type of blades and "depending on what type of turbine their building, maybe those turbines are too high of priced right now and they're buying a different style of turbine," Mitchell Technical Institute Wind Turbine Technology Instructor Brian Roberts said.
Current MFG Employee Russ Sukut learned about the closure Wednesday morning.
"I was like great, now what to do? But I guess you just pick up your feet and go from there," Sukut said.
At the meeting this morning, Sukut said that there was a lot of crying and emotions from his coworkers. But, Sukut is relieved to know that MFG is helping out him and others find their way.
"It feels great to know that you have a company that actually cares about its employees and that they're willing to go the extra mile and effort to help their employees out to look for a new job," Sukut said.
Some of the MFG employees are relocating to other facilities in the country. MFG is also working in conjunction with the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation to assist their employees with unemployment benefits, creating resumes and helping with job searches. They also plan on having a job fair next month with local companies to keep MFG employees in Aberdeen.
"One of the good things is that Aberdeen is a pretty resilient community, whether it's a very strong economy and there's a lot of good companies located here," Giovannini said.
Mitchell Technical Institute has seen an increase in students interested in its wind turbine technology program. Instructors want their students to know that, although MFG is closing, there are plenty of other companies that are constantly looking for technicians.
The South Dakota Democratic Party released the following statement from Executive Director Sam Parkinson in response to MFG's closure of the Aberdeen plant:
"Today's news is the latest evidence that the tax policies of Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress - supported by Rep. Kristi Noem and Senators Mike Rounds and John Thune - will cost South Dakotans jobs. The 409 MFG employees who will lose their jobs are just the latest victims of a Republican tax agenda that is great for the wealthy and large corporations, but will harm everybody else. Unlike Republicans, Democrats are fighting for a pro-growth tax structure that promotes manufacturing jobs, including in the wind energy industry and other renewable energy industries. We believe our economy should work for everyone, not just the privileged few."
For more information on the press release from Molded Fiber Glass, you can visit the link to the right of the article.