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Western Excelsior gets $38,000 workforce grant

Money will go toward workforce training
Kyle Hanson explains a process at the Western Excelsior plant in Mancos in 2014.

Western Excelsior in Mancos received a $38,000 workforce development grant for training for 44 employees through Southwest Colorado Community College, the company’s human resources employee, Stacy Morris, said Friday.

“The purpose of the grant is to provide essential training to some employees and help them grow in their positions,” she said.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade awarded the company the grant through the Existing Industry training program, according to a news release from SCCC. Western Excelsior employees will take some classes on the college campus, as well as participate in hands-on training at the plant in Mancos.

Western Excelsior processes wood to create erosion-control products such as shaved aspen, also known as excelsior.

Several employees will take a first-aid training class that will include CPR and AED training, Morris said. The goal is to certify several workers on each shift.

Employees also will have the opportunity to take a forklift training class that includes a lecture on the college campus and instruction at the Western Excelsior plant, Morris said. There will also be welding and pneumatics training for the maintenance department.

Some leadership team members will take courses to streamline plant processes, Morris said. They will also take “root cause” courses to help them identify problems.

Western Excelsior employs about 100 people, and the training will be finished by mid-May, Morris said.

The program will help workers develop skills and may help some increase their wages over the next several years, she said.

Western Excelsior uses techniques unique to its manufacturing process, Morris added.

“We pride ourselves on being forward-thinking,” she said.

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