Academy employees are moving forward
By Ted Pennekamp
There have been a series of meetings at City Hall in Prairie du Chien aimed at helping the 144 former employees of Wyalusing Academy, which closed on Nov. 8.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has been working with the employees in rooms reserved in City Hall in order to help employees with resume writing, job-hunting and in applying for unemployment benefits.
“There has been a good turnout,” said Prairie du Chien City Administrator Aaron Kramer, who noted that such meetings will probably go into December.
Kramer also said that a job fair was held last week at City Hall by Chileda Institute of La Crosse, a treatment facility for youth with cognitive and behavioral challenges.
“We’re doing every little thing we can,” said Kramer.
AFSCME Local 2276, the union for Wyalusing Academy employees, is still seeking 60 days of pay for the employees. The union claims that Clinicare Corporation, which owns Wyalusing Academy, did not give 60 days notice before shutting down. Clinicare claims that it did not need to give 60 days notice because Wyalusing Academy was shut down by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families and therefore the closing was an unforeseen circumstance. Clinicare President David Fritsch said that the dispute has not yet been resolved.
Former Wyalusing Academy Director Mary Beth Specht will remain with Clinicare. Specht will be in her previous role as educational director of New Frontier Academy in Prairie du Chien. Specht will also serve as the educational director for Clinicare’s Crossroads Academy in Decorah, Iowa.