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DULUTH - Three days after the announcement came down that the Georgia-Pacific hardboard plant would be closing, state leaders were planning for the next step.
Gov. Mark Dayton and other officials met with employees and company leaders at the plant Friday morning.
"This is a hard morning," Dayton said.
After the meeting, the governor learned about how hard the past few days have been for the 141 employees, many of whom thought they were set through retirement.
"This obviously comes as a shock," Dayton said.
"They said the average age of the workforce is 57 years old."
"They're not used to going out and looking for other work," Lt. Gov. Yvonne Prettner-Solon said. "There's uncertainty about what will happen when their wages end, when the benefits are gone."
"Our members, their anxiety is very high, they have a lot of questions," Gerry Parzino from the United Steel Workers said. "We'll be doing communications, holding meetings with them to help them with that process."
Both Gov. Dayton and Lt. Gov. Prettner–Solon said local resources will be there to help employees plan for the next step.
"To help with writing resumes, identifying what their skills are that are transferrable, and helping to calm some of the fears that are there," Prettner-Solon said.
As for the site itself, the governor said he has been talking about creating a work group to look for new uses.
"It's very important we get this facility moving and in its next phase as soon as possible," Dayton said.
The last day for operations at the facility, which specializes in producing hardboard for the automotive industry, will be Thursday.
The plant will shut its doors the following day.