Rural Minnesota CareerForce Helps IWCO
9 Mar 2022
IWCO Direct ceased operations as planned at its Little Falls facility on January 1, 2022, with a resulting layoff of 291 employees. After the first round of layoffs totaling 137 employees on November 1, 149 employees were laid off at the end of December and the remaining five employees were let go in January. Four employees currently remain on site as a skeleton cleanup crew.
A leader in direct marketing for nearly 50 years, IWCO Direct announced in August 2021 its intention to close the Little Falls facility. Since the announcement, officials at the Little Falls Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce office made their services available to IWCO employees and will continue to do so into 2023.
In November, Sam Froelich, Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce Team Leader stated the current workforce market had plenty of potential for those seeking employment and that situation has continued now.
“Job placement is still favorable with a lot of opportunities in our community,” said Froelich. “IWCO has continued to be wonderful to work with, being very supportive of their employees and extremely responsive to any questions or documents we need when working with a client.”
Linda Grittner is one former IWCO employee who was thankful for CareerForce’s effort to help her and others like her find new employment.
“When I was let go from IWCO, I wasn’t sure where to turn or what to do, but thanks to CareerForce, I got a job at Lakeshirts,” she said. “Every time I came in to fill out an online application or to revamp my resume, I was helped 100% and nobody got upset or impatient!”
When Jamie Holm was laid off from IWCO, he enrolled in the Rural Minnesota CEP Dislocated Worker Program and decided on the Truck Driving career path. Rural Minnesota CEP funded his CDL training and assisted him with earning his CDL license. He is currently job searching for a new career in that high-demand occupation.
“I am thankful for the assistance I received to support my education, earning my Class A license and I am looking forward to a new career as a Truck Driver,” he said.
Dislocated Worker Services
There have been 166 enrollments of former IWCO employees into the Dislocated Worker program. Those individuals are working with an assigned job counselor to job search, develop resumes, do career exploration, practice interviewing, attend workshops and more. There have been 10 placements so far from the program, with individuals finding work with Barrett Petfood Innovations, Coborns, LakeShirts, NAHAN Printing, Performance Foods, Range Printing, Stewart Forest Products, Subway, Trinity Lutheran School and Walmart. In addition, there are 71 On-the-Job Training (OJT) contacts that have been written for IWCO clients with businesses around the area. A total of $291,912 has been obligated for the OJT, with seven contracts having already come to an end with more ending at the end of the month and in the months to come. OJT has varied amongst companies, with positions including Data Processing, Electrician, Embroidery Machine Operator, Janitorial, Laborer, Laminator, Machine Operator, Maintenance Technician, Management, Painter, Production Supervisors, Quality Assurance, Screen Print Operator, Teller, Welder and more.
Little Falls Rural Minnesota CEP is also putting together another outdoor job fair for job seekers which will be held May 5th from 12-5 pm in the Little Falls CareerForce parking lot.
Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce’s Dislocated Worker Program is designed to prepare workers who have been laid off through no fault of their own to find a suitable new job at no cost to them. Services include career planning and counseling, counselor-approved training and job search and placement services. Specifically for the IWCO employees, the intake team set up at the IWCO facility to make it easy for employees to submit applications for the Program.
Universal service examples offered by Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce include resume preparation, mock interviews, online job search, application assistance, general networking and general job search techniques, to name a few. Little Falls Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce staff have hosted several workshops weekly for these services, with more than 100 IWCO employees coming to the Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce office to work on their resumes.
As for the IWCO facility, Froelich stated there is another company in town that plans to rent the facility and utilize it as a product warehouse for their other sites.
IWCO employees can access Rural Minnesota CEP CareerForce assistance via email, calling (320) 232-2000 or stopping in the office at 609 13th Avenue NE Suite G, Little Falls.