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Baltimore to loan $100K to W.R. Grace to help train hundreds of manufacturing workers

Baltimore officials are planning to give a $100,000 forgivable loan to W.R. Grace & Co. as part of a plan to train at least 50 manufacturing workers each year.

The Board of Estimates on Wednesday is set to award the 10-year loan to the company to help buy equipment for its $500,000 “Curtis Bay Industrial Training Partnership” that will train manufacturing workers for the company and other employers in the Curtis Bay area, such as Solvay, USALCO, PQ Corporation and Maryland Chemical.

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The companies have formed a partnership to train manufacturing workers because they say they are concerned about the “potential attrition of qualified employees in its workforce” over the next 10 years.

W.R. Grace & Co. announced Friday that CEO Fred Festa will retire toward the end of next year from the Columbia-based chemicals and materials company.

“It is anticipated that up to 100 full time employees of the manufacturing employers in the Partnership will be trained annually in the Curtis Bay area of Baltimore City,” the Board of Estimates agenda states.

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The Baltimore Development Corp. is proposing that the $100,000 loan will be forgiven and if the companies train a minimum of 50 individuals annually and at least 25 percent of those trained are Baltimore City residents. W.R. Grace will be required to send annual reports to the city for verification, according to city officials.

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