Two new approved projects are expected to bring jobs to Iron Rangeby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The board charged with investing in development on the state's Iron Range has approved funding for two projects that will create more jobs in northeastern Minnesota.
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board voted today to approve a $650,000 loan for Ellefson Off Highway in Iron, Minnesota. The company refurbishes mining equipment.
Company vice president Dan Houck explained Ellefson's business to board members.
"We essentially purchase whole pieces of equipment from around the world, bring it back to the Iron Range," Houck said. "It will be dismantled, gone through our shop, which is where these jobs are needed. We need mechanics, warehousing people, welders that can essentially bring these components to the levels we need them to be. The parts are then sold."
The company's expansion plans include adding nine new jobs.
The board also voted to pay for a $2 million expansion for DeCare Dental in Gilbert. That company plans to add 120 customer service positions.
DFL Rep. Tom Rukavina, who chairs the board, said it's a good investment for the state.
"People like the jobs. They stick around a long time, the benefits here are good. Starting wages are around $12 an hour and most people working there are making $15 an hour or better," Rukavina said. "You know, we've been promised that by the end of the year there will be 40 new employees there, so it's great."
DeCare Dental is one of several companies that have set up call centers on the Iron Range. The jobs have helped replace area mining jobs that were lost, Rukavina said.