Southeast Launches Services to Assist Displaced Noranda Employees



CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Feb. 1, 2016 – Southeast Missouri State University will launch several initiatives and extended services to aid those affected by the layoff of employees from Noranda Aluminum Inc.’s New Madrid plant.

“Our thoughts are with the families who have been and will be impacted by the layoffs of one of the region’s largest employers,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast. “The University is concerned about the severe impact on the regional economy and is moving forward with efforts to help these displaced workers and communities recover.”

The first of these initiatives includes University participation at the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Community Resource and Job Fair on Friday, Feb. 5. The fair is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Sikeston campus of Three Rivers College.

Southeast’s Office of Admissions, Extended and Continuing Education, Missouri Innovation Corporation (MIC) and Office of Military and Veterans Services will have staff on hand to provide information about available services and resources for the displaced Noranda workers.

“When there is a layoff of this size in a smaller rural community, unfortunately additional jobs will be lost as a result of that money leaving the local economy,” said Dr. Gerald McDougall, chief executive officer of the Missouri Innovation Corporation and interim Southeast provost. “One way to combat that ripple effect is to give people the necessary knowledge, tools and networks to create their own jobs.”

Further initiatives and resources include:

Missouri Innovation Corporation

The Missouri Innovation Corporation is one of 10 state-supported innovation centers across Missouri and is located within Southeast’s Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The MIC is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering business and community development to create new, high-value jobs and positive economic benefits for the University and the region.

Following the resource fair, the MIC will collaborate with several affected communities to offer entrepreneurship training and programs over the next few months to help increase microenterprise creation and success rates.

One of these partnerships is with the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce to bring the training program LaunchU to the Poplar Bluff community.

LaunchU incorporates the curriculum formerly known as Operation JumpStart with the cloud-based business planning software LivePlan to educate aspiring and early stage entrepreneurs on the must-knows and ins-and-outs of business planning, pitching and tracking.

Class details, dates and times are still being developed for Sikeston, Kennett and Poplar Bluff, but will be announced in the coming weeks.

The MIC has been able to offer similar trainings through sponsorships with local organizations and businesses at no cost to participants and hopes to do this again for these displaced workers.

For information about sponsorship or mentorship/coaching opportunities, email, or call (573) 651-2929.

For more information about the Missouri Innovation Corporation, visit

Small Business and Technology Development Center

The Small Business and Technology Development Center, also located within Southeast’s Douglas C. Greene Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is dedicated to individually working with businesses to meet a wide variety of needs.

By the end of February, the center will expand its hours meeting with clients at satellite locations from one day to two days per week. The expanded hours will take place in communities affected by the layoffs on a rotating basis including Sikeston, Kennett, Dexter and Poplar Bluff.

This initiative will allow business development associates to spend more time helping small business owners in the affected areas with business development, business analytics and technical assistance.

Small business owners interested in scheduling a meeting should call (573) 651-2929.

For more information about the Small Business and Technology Development Center, visit