Wind turbine components await shipping at the Dutch-owned Vestas Tower plant Jan. 19, 2019, in Pueblo. The facility is one of three manufacturing plants operated in Colorado by Vestas.(Mike Sweeney, Special to The Colorado Sun)

PUEBLO — A wind turbine company based in Denmark has laid off 450 workers from its manufacturing plants in Colorado, citing lower market demand.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S laid off 120 workers at its Pueblo tower-manufacturing plant, where it employed more than 800 workers at its peak, The Pueblo Chieftain reported  Wednesday.

“The reductions represent approximately 15% of the workforce at the Pueblo location,” Vestas Director of Communications Chante Condit-Pottol said.

The company also said it laid off 50 workers at its blade factory in Windsor and closed a separate blade factory in Brighton where 280 people worked.

“We are certainly saddened to hear it — those are good-paying jobs and highly trained workers,” said Jeff Shaw, president and CEO for Pueblo Economic Development Corporation. 

“There are companies that are looking for that sort of capable, trained workforce as well as those with soft skills who show up on time and like to work, so it is our hope they are absorbed into other manufacturers.”

The company made the move to consolidate its workforce in Colorado as a result of lower market demand, Condit-Pottol said, adding that the decision is expected to improve efficiency and strengthen the service and construction forces.

“To protect jobs and ensure a continued strong Vestas footprint in Colorado, Vestas will support the impacted colleagues, pending eligibility, in transitioning to other roles in growing parts of the organization,” Condit-Pottol said.

Shaw said when the company first brought jobs to the region, it made an agreement to maintain a certain number of jobs in Pueblo. 

“All I know for sure is that they are not going below (the number of jobs) they guaranteed to the community. They have far exceeded anything they ever promised to the community so we are still way ahead with Vestas,” Shaw said.

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