Solectron plant to close

By Bryan Corliss

Herald Writer

Solectron Corp. will close its Everett manufacturing plant in April, idling 324 workers, a company spokesman said Tuesday.

The national economic slump is the culprit, spokesman Matt Roszell said. "We’re faced with a lack of customer demand," he said. "We just don’t have enough work here."

Solectron workers here assemble printed circuit boards for name-brand companies in the telecommunications and test and measurement industries. The company twice won Malcom Baldridge Awards for excellence in manufacturing during the 1990s.

Employees received their 60-day layoff notices Tuesday. They will be eligible for severance packages and help finding new jobs, said Massued Bherouzi, Solectron’s senior vice president, in a prepared statement. "We truly value our employees’ contributions and will do our best to help them through this difficult transition," he said.

The California-based company moved into Snohomish County in 1993, when it bought Hewlett-Packard’s printed circuit board assembly business in Lake Stevens. It shared space there with what is now Agilent, later moving into its current 179,000-square-foot plant off Seaway Boulevard near the Boeing Co. in 1998.

The plant will be put up for sale, Roszell said. Work done here will be moved to other Solectron sites in phases starting early next year.

The closure is not connected to the Boeing layoffs and is not a reflection on the quality of the workforce here, he said.

The workforce for the past 18 months has included about 60 political or economic refugees receiving training through a joint program of the company, Everett Community College, the state’s WorkFirst and WorkSource programs, and the Refugee and Immigrant Forum of Snohomish, Whatcom and Skagit counties.

The program gives refugees 12 to 14 weeks of English language training, then another 32 hours of specific skills training before moving them into assembly for jobs. Solectron was honored for the program by WorkFirst and WorkSource earlier this year.

Solectron’s departure from Everett is "a painful reminder of the work Congress must get done to restore our wounded economy and get back these jobs," said U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Wash.

"My heart goes out to the workers and their families," he said.

You can call Herald Writer Bryan Corliss at 425-339-3454

or send e-mail to corliss@heraldnet.com.

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