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Vt. auto parts plant to close, 143 jobs being lost

BENNINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- A Bennington plant that makes auto parts is consolidating its operations and closing the doors of its Vermont facility, putting 143 people out of work, officials said Thursday.

Plasan Carbon Composites President James Staargaard announced the closure Thursday.

The company says it's consolidating operations at another Plasan facility in Walker, Mich.

Local Vermont lawmakers said they would work with the Department of Labor to find new jobs for the affected employees.

"I am hopeful these efforts will lead to job placement for the workers that have been laid off to help ensure the vitality of Bennington," said state Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington.

"It is my priority that those without employment will be able to return to the workforce quickly," said Rep. Bill Botzow, D-Bennington.

Vermont Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan said her department would work with the employees to explain the benefits they will be eligible for such as job placement assistance, education and retraining and unemployment benefits.

The plant will remain open until mid-May.

The workers will receive severance packages and a bonus if they stay on until the plant closes.

Plasan Composites has a sister company in Bennington that makes armaments, Plasan USA, which is unaffected by Thursday's announcement.