Grants Benefit Ex-Supervalu, Current NewPage Workers

Grants totaling $838,390 are meant to aid laid-off Supervalu workers, while another $91,768 grant will fund training for workers at a Duluth paper mill.

Grants administered by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will benefit former employees of Eden Prairie-based Supervalu, Inc., as well as current employees of the NewPage paper mill in Duluth.

The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced that it has made available an $838,390 “national emergency grant” to aid roughly 200 Minnesota workers that Supervalu laid off earlier this year in Eden Prairie and Stillwater.

In March, shortly after Supervalu completed its $3.3 billion deal to divest five of its largest retail grocery brands, a move that resulted in a significantly smaller company, the retailer said it would eliminate about 1,100 corporate and regional office positions, including 600 in Minnesota.

“Former workers of Supervalu face a challenge in finding jobs comparable to the ones they lost,” acting Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training Gerri Fiala said in a statement. “The Labor Department’s grant will help these individuals to update current job skills or train for a new occupation in expanding sectors of the state’s economy.”

The grant for former Supervalu workers will be administered by DEED. Separately, DEED recently announced that it has awarded a $91,768 grant to help train 105 employees of NewPage’s Duluth paper mill.

The grant, which is part of DEED’s Minnesota Job Skills Partnership, will support advanced training at Lake Superior College for employees from the company’s automation, mechanical, rover, and leadership departments. The college and NewPage will jointly develop a comprehensive, customized training program offered at the paper mill, DEED said.

The purpose of the Minnesota Job Skills Partnership is to work with businesses and educational institutions to train or retrain workers, expand work opportunities, and keep or expand high-quality jobs in the state, DEED said. The program has awarded nearly $3 million to train 4,028 workers from 19 businesses in Minnesota during the fiscal year that ends this month, and DEED estimates that the program will attract an additional $9 million from participating businesses and educational institutions.