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Massena government officials react to Alcoa news with cautious optimism

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MASSENA - Local government officials are viewing a modified power agreement announced Monday by Alcoa and the New York Power Authority with cautious optimism.

In the new deal, NYPA will temporarily reduce Alcoa’s hydropower supply contract of 478 megawatts, which fueled the potlines at the Alcoa East plant while supplying ample energy to support the operations of Massena West.

“I’m certainly enthusiastic about NYPA’s commitment to the north country. Certainly we’d like to hear more promising news of modernization, and we certainly think it should happen here,” Massena Mayor James F. Hidy said. “Alcoa continues to feed many families in not only Massena but the surrounding communities.”

In the deal, Alcoa has pledged to launch Massena’s largest-ever apprenticeship program to prepare the workforce of the future. The program includes three- and four-year New York State-certified programs that will provide training and resources for employees to become electricians, mechanics and machinists. Alcoa expects to have more than 50 employees participate in the program. It coes at a time when a number of Alcoa’s skilled trades people have taken advantage of an early retirement option.

“I think it’s a positive thing. Any time we can secure jobs at Alcoa, it’s good for our community. I am pleased that the modernization is still being discussed, but I’ll feel much better when the modernization is definitely a go,” Massena Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said. “Obviously I’ve said many times that I believe a good deal of Alcoa’s success was precipitated on its location in Massena. As Alcoa has benefited from Massena, I think that’s it very important that Alcoa continues its presence so that the benefit can be mutual.

“It’s been a good partnership, and we’d like to see it continue for years to come.”

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