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Thu, March 21

Prescott aerospace plant to close

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

Les Stukenberg/The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT - The Portland, Ore.-based company that bought the former Fortner Aerospace plant a year ago will close the plant in early February, eliminating 80 jobs.

Jay Khetani, vice president for Precision Castparts, declined Wednesday afternoon to say why his company will shut the PCC Aerostructures Prescott plant.

"We just won't have any public comment," he said.

"It is not our policy to comment."

Andrea Avery, human resources manager at the plant on Pleasant Street, declined comment Wednesday, and turned down a request from the Courier to interview employees on the premises.

The former Fortner plant opened in the late 1940s, and has manufactured components for the aerospace industry. Synchronous sold the plant to Precision Castparts.

PCC Aerostructures employees split into three groups Wednesday to meet with representatives of Yavapai Workforce Connection of the Northern Arizona Council of Governments to learn about opportunities for displaced workers.

NACOG Regional Director Teri Drew said PCC Aerostructures officials notified her staff in advance of telling employees Dec. 2 that their jobs would be eliminated. Drew said the company gave no reason for the closure, which is expected to take place Feb. 3.

She said her staff immediately contacted 14 manufacturers in the quad-city area to inquire about job prospects, and came up with 35 job openings. The openings include engineers, a machine shop manager and a variety of manufacturing positions.

Some of the workers might land other jobs before unemployment benefits kick in, Drew said. She said the displaced workers at PCC have worked there anywhere from weeks to several years and include manufacturing engineers, machine operators, machinists, hand finishers, tool cutters, inspectors and administrative staff.

The employees may be eligible to apply for other jobs with the parent company, which describes itself on its website as being the "world leader" in structural investment castings, forged components and airfoil castings for aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines.

NACOG staff will help the workers apply for unemployment benefits, and will provide financial aid if they want to return to school to learn new skills, Drew said. They will be eligible to receive help from NACOG for as long as two years if needed.

Drew said NACOG will offer job training that pays 50 percent of the wages for as long as six months for a displaced worker who lands a job in a similar field.

If the employee seeks a career change, NACOG will cover all the costs for books and classroom training, she said.

If a career change leads to a new job, NACOG will cover 100 percent of the training wage, Drew said.

Follow reporter Ken Hedler on Twitter @KenHedlines.

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