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Schneider closure 'devastating news'

CLOSING ITS DOORS:Schneider Electric has been in Miami County in some form since 1906, according to MCEDA Executive Director Jim Tidd. The company will be closing its doors and more than 300 employees will be looking for jobs soon.

BY Brian Powers - bpowers@perutribune.com

While residents of the City of Peru and Miami County as a whole are reeling from Friday’s surprise announcement of the pending closure of Schneider Electric (formerly known as Square D), leaders are looking ahead.

Few details are known about Schneider’s closure as of yet, but Peru Mayor Gabe Greer said the location’s closure will definitely be felt throughout the City.

“It’s a significant loss of good-paying jobs that were supporting local families,” he said.

Greer also mentioned that other manufacturers are expected to have openings soon, but he is doubtful all 306 Schneider employees being laid off will have a place.

“I know right now, Snavely, Haraeus Electro-Nite and Progress Rail are hiring,” he said. “I don’t even think it will be 100 jobs, though, so it definitely won’t be the 300 jobs we’re losing.”

According to Greer, the impact of Schneider’s closure will be felt to more than those who are losing their jobs.

“I’ve heard that other smaller local companies are going to be impacted because of lost contracts they had in place with Schneider Electric,” Greer said. “I think the impact of this is a lot deeper than most people realize; it’s going to have a ripple effect in our community.”

Miami County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Jim Tidd agrees the impact will be deeply felt.

“It’s very distressing news,” he said. “We clearly had no notice about it; I think the employees knew before we did.”

Tidd said he and those he works with are looking at options however, including contacting state government officials.

“Right now, we’re trying to see if we can intervene and change corporate’s mind about this,” he said. “That’s our first step: seeing if there are any state or local government incentives to keep them here.”

If MCEDA’s plan a is unsuccessful, Tidd said their next priority will be on the impacted employees.

“Our next focus would be to find those 306 people jobs,” Tidd said. “In my opinion, there are going to be very employable folks with great experience looking for jobs in manufacturing.”

Tidd also called on Miami County residents throughout the closure.

“Although this is devastating, we need to come together,” he said. “We need to figure out what’s next for our community.”

At the time of print, attempts to contact Schneider Electric were unsuccessful. No details have been released regarding severance packages or programs, nor has the closure date been announced publicly.