The lifeblood of Whirlpool Corporation’s American operations is the 15,000-strong factory workforce spread across nine different plants in the states of Ohio, Iowa, Oklahoma, Massachusetts and Tennessee. Whirlpool Corporation is once again honoring its U.S. manufacturing employees during Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 1. This year’s theme is “We invest in you,” and focuses on opportunities for employee advancement, educational reimbursement and volunteerism at the plants.
You can click on any of the links below to hear from employees at that plant!
“I worked really hard to become a more valuable asset to the company,” says Ashley Lehner, who works at the Marion, Ohio plant where dryers are manufactured. “Whirlpool provides you with advancement opportunities and I hope to continue to grow within the organization.”
Kelsi Hashbarger, who works in the Findlay, Ohio dishwasher plant, echoed that same sentiment. “I gained experience and built relationships with leadership while working here, which eventually led to my current role as a people development pillar specialist.”
Tulsa, Oklahoma employee Mike Wagers, working at one of the company’s plants that manufactures cooking appliances, likes the peace of mind his position gives him and the support from his peers. “I was looking for long-term stability, and this job gave it to me,” he says. “The opportunities that I have been afforded here and the people that have supported me through this have really been fantastic, and have helped get me to where I am today.”
Lynette Mattos, who works at another cooking appliance plant in Cleveland, Tennessee, also worked her way up within the company. “It was an achievement for myself knowing that people saw my work ethic and believed in me enough to offer me a new position.”
With a global headquarters based in Benton Harbor, Michigan, Whirlpool Corporation invested approximately $4 billion over the last five years into innovation in its American plants, its products, and most importantly, in the people who keep the lines running day in and day out. Part of that investment includes tuition reimbursement.
“They are giving you all the tools you need right here,” said Marion Operations employee Joshua Bachelder. Brent Kahle from the Findlay plant has also benefited from educational reimbursement. “Whirlpool has helped me to advance my career by providing me financial help while obtaining my masters degree, he says.”
Stephanie Diekman is an employee in Clyde, Ohio at the company’s largest plant, with approximately 3,000 employees making washing machines. She says she took advantage of educational reimbursement and still enjoyed a good work/life balance. “By having this program available, it allowed me to focus on myself without sacrificing anything at home.”
It’s also a rewarding experience for Alex Silva of Fall River, Massachusetts, where commercial laundry machines are built. “Being able to better yourself has been incredibly important for me; to see that the company wants me to continue to learn because it obviously sees me as someone who is important and wants me to be here.”
All of these incentives are part of a greater “We invest in you” strategy that can benefit any manufacturing employee at Whirlpool Corporation.
“They have invested in employees in a very concrete way through the tuition reimbursement program,” says Amana, Iowa refrigeration plant employee Jacob Miller.
For some, educational reimbursement helps employees to chase their dreams. “When I discovered that I was able to return to school with educational reimbursement from Whirlpool, I was very excited because I knew that it would give me a better chance to actually complete my degree and meet my career goals,” said Raymond Swartout of Greenville, Ohio where KitchenAid small appliances like the iconic stand mixer are built.
At the end of the day, it’s that feeling of support that motivates Ottawa, Ohio’s Anna Schrag, who works at the plant where freezers are manufactured. “I feel great that Whirlpool supports my education. I know that I would not be where I am at in my career had they not done that.”
Most people want to work for an employer that cares about its employees and also about the people in the local community. That’s why Whirlpool Corporation encourages employees to volunteer and provides opportunities to give back to those communities.
Greenville employee Christel Rouse is one of thousands of employees nationwide who volunteer on a regular basis. “Whirlpool offers several volunteer opportunities that impact our community,” she says, “and we directly impact many organizations in the Darke County community by supporting United Way.”
I personally see the impact we’ve had on the lives of others that we have helped. One of my passions is Habitat for Humanity, because we actually built a house for one of our employees here at Tulsa Operations.”
In Ottawa, employee JoAnne Birkemeier is passionate about the United Way as well, “because they support many local groups, and all of the funds that are raised for the United Way stay local, so it truly helps the people that not only work at Whirlpool, but all the people in our community.”
United Way is a regular recipient of donations and volunteerism from Whirlpool Corporation, as one of its signature charities, along with Habitat for Humanity International.
“I personally see the impact we’ve had on the lives of others that we have helped,” says employee Allen Gordon. “One of my passions is Habitat for Humanity, because we actually built a house for one of our employees here at Tulsa Operations.”
Employees volunteer in a number of other ways, whether it’s picking up trash on the highway, or helping out at local soup kitchens. “It was very powerful to go to a soup kitchen and feed the homeless,”says Erin Cullen of Fall River. “You definitely appreciate everything that you have.”
Findlay’s Charles Matthes volunteers at a local Women’s Shelter in his community called Hope House. “They were in need of some new appliances, so we got them two washer and dryer stacks, a new range and a new microwave,” he says. Cleveland’s Stephanie Cichy has volunteered for several causes. “I have been actively involved in the United Way program here, Community Service Committee, Children’s Hospital, Relay for Life, and Salvation Army Giving Tree,” she says.
These community projects provide personal benefits for employees that reach far beyond their daily job responsibilities. Clyde’s Jenna Jess sums it up well, saying, “How I benefit when I volunteer in the community is just having a better sense of pride within myself, knowing I am giving back to others. Loretta Mills from Marion agrees. “At the end of the day, I know that I did something. I did something to help someone and that’s the biggest thing to me.”
This Manufacturing Day, Whirlpool Corporation recognizes all of these manufacturing employees, and the thousands of others who go above and beyond to bring us the appliances that make consumers’ lives easier every single day, while giving back to the communities where they work and live.