Alcoa to keep Ferndale plant open

Alcoa announced today that it won’t curtail the Intalco Works facility at the end of this quarter, retaining hundreds of jobs.

In a press release, the metals manufacturer announced today that it reached an agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration to help improve the competitiveness of the Intalco smelter, which will allow it to stay open.

The deal takes effect on July 1 and runs through Feb. 14, 2018. It is an amendment to Intalco’s existing contract with the power authority. It allows the plant to purchase additional power on the open market for some of its energy use.

The press release also states that $3 million in state funding state for workforce training is also a factor in keeping the smelter competitive.

“Last year, I signed into law an extension of tax preferences that help the company stay competitive, and earlier this month I signed into law a supplemental operating budget that provides funding for on-site worker training and skill enhancement,” Gov. Jay Inslee said in a statement. “These efforts helped retain more than 500 jobs at Alcoa’s Ferndale facility.”

Specifically, the budget item designates $750,000 for the rest of this year and $2,250,000 for 2017 to Bellingham Technical College for on-site worker training training for employees of trade-impacted industrial facilities.

Alcoa announced in November of last year that it would idle the plant, with plans for full curtailment at the end of the first quarter this year. At the time, the plant had 583 employees.

Earlier this year, the company announced it would delay the curtailment until the end of the second quarter.

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