OTTAWA — In conjunction with National Manufacturing Day, Whirlpool Corp. hosted tours and an open house for high school students interested in manufacturing careers at the company’s Ottawa plant.
On Tuesday, some 30 students from Fort Jennings High School participated in a tour of the plant, attended a panel discussion with Whirlpool officials and networked with the company’s employees. The plant held a similar event Monday for students at Patrick Henry schools and will host Kalida and Pandora students next week.
“The purpose of the plant tours is to promote manufacturing and the career opportunities it has to offer, as well as the impact it has on the economy,” said Ashley Armour, human resources associate at Whirlpool’s Ottawa plant.
With nine facilities in the United States, including five in Ohio, Whirlpool employs around 10,000 people nationwide. In all, manufacturing encompasses around 17.6 million jobs in the U.S., and is 12 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Armour said it’s important to show students that career opportunities in manufacturing are available in the local community, and to reduce the stigma that factories are “dirty, grimy and dangerous.”
“I think people have a certain idea of what manufacturing is like, and it’s usually not what it’s really like,” she said. “The stigma of how it used to be is really nothing like it is now.”
Mackenna Stechschulte, a ninth-grader at Fort Jennings, said she learned a lot from her visit to Whirlpool.
“We got to look at all of the new machines they have, and how they were able to create everything,” Stechschulte said. “We learned that there’s a lot of different parts to make one big machine.”
Brandon Suever, also a ninth-grader at Fort Jennings, said Tuesday’s plant tour was a “good experience.” He said a career in manufacturing may be something he explores in the future.
“I could definitely see me doing it down the line,” Suever said.
For Armour, the plant tours represent a beneficial experience that she wants to continue in the future.
“I think it’s important to educate everyone on the importance of manufacturing and the impact it has on the U.S. as a whole,” she said. “The career opportunities in manufacturing are really endless.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima