OTTAWA — Several manufacturing companies are opening their doors and welcoming students in to see what they do this month.
The reason is two-pronged: to show students how manufacturing plants operate today and to garner student interest in jobs there, said Doug Durliat, director of the West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium’s Manufacturing Pathways.
So far, Honda, Rudolph Foods, Randall Bearings, PotashCorp, PRO-TEC, Husky Energy Lima Refinery and Whirlpool have offered student tours or plan to.
Some of the efforts are part of the West Central Ohio Manufacturing Consortium’s encouragement to local companies to open up for Manufacturing Month, October, and National Manufacturing Day, which was Oct. 2, Durliat said.
On Friday, Whirlpool’s Ottawa facility welcomed 14 Ottawa-Glandorf High School students into the plant.
The facility, which makes freezers and kitchen compactors, offered the students a tour and hoped to show them “what a manufacturing environment is all about,” said Alan Inkrott, human resources leader at Whirlpool in Ottawa.
Whirlpool is opening the plant up for the whole month so students from Putnam County and farther can come through. Overall, about 300 high school students will go on the plant tour.
“This is our first attempt to attract students,” Inkrott said. “Manufacturing is starting to become more and more visible. Whirlpool is becoming more vocal and proactive to try to attract students in the manufacturing environment.”
He wanted to show students that Whirlpool is not the “dark, dingy” manufacturing facilities many may picture. The plant employs engineers, health safety staff, management staff, finance staff, human resources staff, apprentices and more.
It employs about 400 to 425 people and is hiring. Depending on demand, the plant, located at 677 Woodland Drive, makes about 300 to 400 products per shift per day.
Ken Schriner, assistant principal and dean of students at Ottawa-Glandorf High School, went on the tour and said he could see a lot of career options in Whirlpool’s facility alone.
“I hope it’s an eye-opener. … I think for the most part the kids didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “The facility shows there are a heck of a lot of different things you can do.”
Reach Danae King at 567-242-0511 or on Twitter @DanaeKing.