A major educational publishing company on Wednesday announced the elimination of nearly 30 positions at its Dubuque facility.

Twenty-eight employees at McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 501 Bell St., were notified of the job cuts, according to Tyler Reed, senior director of communications for the company.

That represents about 10% of the Dubuque workforce, Reed said. While job cuts are occurring at other McGraw-Hill locations nationwide, Reed declined to provide overall figures.

“It’s been a challenging time,” he said. “And going into 2020, there’s still some significant headwinds that we face.”

McGraw-Hill is one of the three largest publishers of educational materials in the country. According to the company’s website, the Dubuque location is the “center of McGraw-Hill Higher Education’s award-winning digital teaching and learning product development for science, engineering and math.”

The 28 employees affected by the cuts work in a variety of positions and departments, from higher education to marketing, Reed said. The cuts are not effective immediately, but Reed could not provide an exact date for when they are.

Reed said Dubuque is a “tight-knit” community, so company officials wanted to be forthright about the reductions.

“All of our employees affected here, we provide a lot of services to them to help with the transition and to help with the next move,” he said.

McGraw-Hill came to Dubuque in the 1990s, when the company purchased William C. Brown Publishing Co. In 2007, the local McGraw-Hill workforce moved into a new $32 million building in the Port of Dubuque.

The company boasted a local workforce of about 400 people at the time. But that number has fallen to about 260 today.

“From our perspective, publishing is a significant component of our local economy, historically and today as well,” said Kristin Dietzel, vice president of workforce solutions for Greater Dubuque Development Corp. “We do see it as an industry that is affected by changing technology and disruption.”

GDDC officials were notified of the impending cuts via Iowa Workforce Development. The local agency will reach out to affected employees in hopes of finding alternative work opportunities.

“There is a significant crossover of skills in industries that continue to grow in the Dubuque area, including finance, insurance, customer service and other related industries,” Dietzel said.

McGraw-Hill is in the midst of a merger with Cengage, another top-three textbook publishing company in the U.S. Regulatory bodies still are considering whether to approve the merger.

Reed said the reductions are not related to the planned merger.