News Release


For More Information:

William R. Steinhaus
Dutchess County Executive
(845) 486-2000

For Immediate Release

July 9, 1999

Steinhaus Assembles Rapid Response Team to
Assist Displaced Fargo Employees

Poughkeepsie, NY - County Executive William R. Steinhaus today announced the creation of a coordinated rapid response program to help locate employment opportunities for the workers displaced by the decision of Fargo Manufacturing to close its Dutchess County facility.

"There are always challenges facing economic development and the reason we are taking action today is to try to minimize the pain that these occasional challenges inflict on hard working residents and their families," Steinhaus said. "These Fargo workers have skills and talents, and we are confident through the employment linkages we are creating for them, they will quickly rejoin the workforce."

The Steinhaus administration with the leadership of the Dutchess County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and EDC President Kathleen Norat have assembled a work team of economic development leaders. We have already begun holding planning meetings to prepare informational group sessions that would expose dislocated employees from Fargo to various programs of Dutchess County and New York State. The sessions will be held at the Dutchess County Department of Labor (DOL) and local colleges. In these group sessions, job placement services, career opportunities and available local training funds for the displaced workers will be discussed. Individualized attention will be given to each worker at the One-Stop Center where they can receive job placement counseling and linkage to available job openings in the area.

"Fortunately Dutchess County is considered an aggressive and progressive leader in workforce development. As a result, we have been awarded the states largest grant to create our One-Stop Center," Steinhaus noted. "With the creation of our One-Stop Center, we have positioned ourselves to deal with the challenges presented by large scale closures and downsizings like this."

"I am confident that we will have a high degree of placement for these workers," Steinhaus added. "Dutchess County's economic development team has been able to create 8000 new jobs in this county and lower the unemployment rate to just over 3%. We have already been in touch with other companies in the county as well as new companies who we are presently recruiting." Steinhaus has assembled an economic development team consisting of the state DOL, the Private Industry Council, Dutchess Community College (DCC), the Council of Industry and various state agencies to facilitate the linking the former Fargo employees with job and training opportunities.

The fact Fargo has decided to move its product lines to Mexico is an impact of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Act). Both the DOL and DCC will explore NAFTA dislocation programs which may prove beneficial to the Fargo employees.

"Even before the closure of Fargo was announced, we worked closely with local management to mitigate closure by providing linkage to productivity training and various funding and incentive programs," said Kathleen Norat. "Retention of local employers is a big part of what we do as well."

"Next week we plan to continue talks with Fargo management to coordinate one of our Rapid Response visits with the employees," said Donald Lucarello from the Department of Labor. "Often we will set-up a meeting at the place of employment to discuss the options available to the employees and bring them in contact with NAFTA or JTPA funding."


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