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Vt. plant closing; 75 to lose jobs

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Associated Press / December 16, 2007

WILLISTON, Vt. - A company hailed just four months ago as a key to Vermont's high-tech manufacturing future has announced it is closing its plant in Williston.

Qimonda, a global tech company that makes computer chips for computers and mobile devices such as cellphones and audio players, says it expects 75 of its roughly 125 Vermont employees will lose their jobs, with 50 invited to move to a plant in North Carolina.

"This is based on us looking at our company structure and looking at creating a development center that will be most efficient for the future of the company," said Alan Walker, senior director of Qimonda's Vermont operation.

Walker appeared with Governor Jim Douglas and other officials at a news conference in August, saying the company planned to grow in Vermont and needed more technically skilled employees.

The job losses are a tough blow to Vermont; many Qimonda employees were making in the range of $85,000 a year.

Vermont Economic Development Commissioner Mike Quinn said he and others in his department were "disappointed about the news." He said the state hoped to step up efforts to find another high-tech employer or employers to hire affected workers.

"There are talented people that are here and are now Vermonters, and we'll do our best to help them stay here," Quinn said.

Qimonda's North American division said it would shed 100 jobs in the coming months, with the bulk of them coming from the Vermont facility, which is scheduled to close by June 30.

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