Peru State providing scholarships to employees affected by Diversified facility closing

Peru State providing scholarships to employees affected by Diversified facility closing
World-Herald News Service

PERU – Peru State College is stepping up to help families who are being affected by the closing of Diversified Foods and Seasonings in Nebraska City.

The southeast Nebraska school is offering one-year scholarships to employees, their spouses, children and dependents. The scholarship is for 67% of the cost of tuition and is equivalent of the tuition waiver offered to families of college employees.

“It is important to the mission of the College that we partner with southeast Nebraska,” Peru State President Dr. Dan Hanson said. “Offering a scholarship to displaced workers in Nebraska City is one more way to engage with the communities that have supported Peru State College.”

News Channel Nebraska first reported Diversified met with Nebraska City plant managers and employees Thursday afternoon to announce intentions to close the facility by Jan. 4. The Nebraska City facility employs about 40 people to produce frozen and refrigerated food pouches, including a macaroni and cheese product that is distributed to a variety of vendors.

“Peru State will offer this scholarship to both new, returning and current college students,” Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Dr. Jesse Dorman said. “We feel this is the best way for Peru State to support the employees and families of Diversified Foods and Seasonings.”

Diversified CEO Peter Smith announced Friday they’re moving a major production line from the Nebraska City facility to the Madisonville, Louisiana plant – resulting in the new jobs in St. Tammany Parish. Smith says the move will invest $12 million to expand and upgrade the company’s food manufacturing facility in Madisonville.

Diversified is based in Covington, Louisiana.

Former employee Bill Dawson was fired Friday for speaking to News Channel Nebraska about the situation. He said his comments to the media were intended to describe workers’ feelings about receiving the news. Many of the workers were upset because the announcement came so close to Christmas.

Peru State College is recognized nationally for it’s affordability and features 13 majors with more than 40 options available.

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