RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) - Employees at Intel's computer chip plant here began learning Monday whether they would be among those to lose their jobs.
Intel announced plans in May to cut more than 1,000 jobs at its Rio Rancho facility as it prepares to end production of an older silicon wafer technology at Fab 11. The computer chip manufacturer employs 4,700 workers in Rio Rancho.
Company spokeswoman Liz Shipley said Intel has worked to match up the skills of its employees with the skills that will be needed as the company moves toward producing thinner, more advanced computer chips.
''The job skills of those who will be impacted ... will be across the board,'' she said. ''It will include managers, supervisors, engineers of various disciplines and technicians.''
Workers who leave immediately will be offered a severance package, while others can opt into the company's redeployment program in which they are given two months to search for new positions at other Intel sites.
Intel also has hosted forums to outline services available to employees, and the company has hired a firm to run an off-site ''career resources center'' to help workers find new jobs.
State officials are optimistic that many of the displaced workers will find jobs in New Mexico.
At least 75 companies have signed on for a state-sponsored job fair Aug. 20 in Albuquerque, and thousands of job listings are posted on the state Department of Workforce Solutions' Web site.
A rapid response team announced by Gov. Bill Richardson after the cuts were first announced also is available to help dislocated workers access various state and federal unemployment resources, including insurance benefits, child care services and a state program that provides up to a $7,000 education benefit to help workers either enhance or learn new skills.
''We're trying to bring every resource so they can look at all their options,'' said Carlos Castaneda, a spokesman for the Workforce Solutions Department, which was created July 1 by combining the Labor Department and the Office of Workforce Training and Development.