Duluth Workforce Development Program Looking to Help Recently Laid Off DECC Employees

DULUTH, Minn. — After the DECC announced earlier this week that the roughly 400 employees it furloughed are now permanently laid off, the city of Duluth’s Workforce Development Program wants to help those former workers find new opportunities.

The program can first connect Duluth residents to emergency assistance, such as healthcare, housing, and making sure services like heat aren’t turned off as the bills pile up.

Then, job counselors help them apply to job openings, or enroll in job training, for a wide range of industries. They can also help with practice interviews and resumes.

The Workforce team even recently held a workshop for those interested in learning how to start their own businesses.

The program can also help cover costs associated with new opportunities, such as buying a pair of work boots, or even going to school.

“That’s something we might see a lot with DECC employees,” Elena Foshay, the director of Duluth’s Workforce Development Program, said. “We’re seeing a lot of folks who were working in the food and beverage industry, that are like, ‘you know what, I want something that is more stable, is a long-term career path. I’m going to take this moment to go back to school and get my nursing degree or to get my degree in cybersecurity, or any of the other fields that are in high demand right now.’ So we work with folks, we can help pay tuition, we can help pay for books, we can even potentially help them get a computer so that they’re ready to do online learning because all learning is online right now.”

The program director said she and her team have reached out to the DECC interim executive director for the contact information of former employees, so the program can help them the same way they are helping those who were laid off from the Verso paper mill this past summer.

You can call the Workforce Development program at 218-302-8400, or visit its website.

Foshay added that job counselors have helped thousands of people in the area since the pandemic shutdowns began in March.

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