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Response program aids laid-off employees in Aberdeen

ABERDEEN (AP) -- The South Dakota Department of Labor has launched a program to help laid-off employees of a fiberglass supplier in Aberdeen. Dan Thielsen, manager of the department's office in Aberdeen, organized the program after receiving noti...

ABERDEEN (AP) - The South Dakota Department of Labor has launched a program to help laid-off employees of a fiberglass supplier in Aberdeen.

Dan Thielsen, manager of the department's office in Aberdeen, organized the program after receiving notice of the company's imminent layoffs last week, the Aberdeen American News reported.

"They didn't know. They just showed up for work (Monday) and they found out," Thielsen said.

The company didn't disclose the number of employees let go, but said the layoffs were due to an "unexpected reduction" in orders for wind turbine blades. State and city officials said a "substantial" number of employees were fired.

The program is described as a "pro-active, business-focused" strategy to help both employers and employees. Thielsen said the department's task force will give workers additional training, resume help and other services.

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"Fortunately we have a lot of businesses in town that are hiring," said Mayor Mike Levsen, who was informed in advance of the layoffs. "We're in a better position to handle it that (than) if it would've happened someplace else, but still it has to be a discouraging day for people who have been working there a while."

Levsen said while he was informed in advance that a "substantial" number of employees would be let go, he didn't discuss the reasoning behind the layoffs with Dave Giovannini, Molded Fiber Glass senior vice president.

Since October 2008, Molded Fiber Glass has made blades for wind turbines and is owned by the Aberdeen Development Corp.

Molded Fiber Glass couldn't be reached by the newspaper for further comment on the matter.

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