By Wausau Pilot and Review staff

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development on Tuesday awarded a $9,375 Rapid Response Dislocation Grant in response to the December closure of Semling Menke Company in Merrill, state officials said in a news release.

The Merrill window manufacturer abruptly closed its doors last month, leaving 141 people without jobs, according to the Department of Workforce Development. Semling-Menke Co., 605 N. Ohio St., announced the closure to employees on Dec. 31 in a letter. The closure was made effective immediately.

“This grant will help provide additional services to the workers impacted by this business closure,” DWD Secretary-Designee Caleb Frostman said. “The unexpected loss of employment through a mass layoff is often traumatic and economically devastating for workers and their families. DWD and its partners stand ready to continue assisting the dislocated workers in every way possible.”

Upon the notification that SEMCO Windows and Doors shut down, a local Rapid Response Team, consisting of both DWD and NCWWDB employees, began providing hands-on services to help find new employment for those impacted by the closure, including workshops on resume writing and interviewing, job search strategies, and budgeting. The team held a career and resource fair Jan. 6 at which eight community organizations and 40 businesses shared available job opportunities with about 75 dislocated workers who attended.

Jobs lost include 104 laborer positions, 21 clerical, eight supervisory, and eight additional positions, according to the DWD.

Workers may also access basic re-employment services at no charge through the state’s Job Centers. Some services, including training assistance, may be an option for some workers after enrolling in one or more of DWD’s workforce development programs.

This grant aims to provide more vigorous job services to the employees impacted by the closure, including additional information on available programs, such as unemployment insurance, job center resources, healthcare options, and other employment transition opportunities, the release stated.

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