Jim Keppler– By Jim Keppler, VP, NAR Integrated Supply Chain & Quality

This Friday, October 4 marks Manufacturing Day here in the United States. All of our U.S. plants will open their doors this month to students, teachers, parents and community leaders to show them first-hand what manufacturing careers are really like. These events are a vital part of our year-round outreach efforts to dispel myths about manufacturing and build a strong talent pipeline for the future. It’s predicted that during the next 10 years, 4.6 million manufacturing jobs will be needed and more than half of those could go unfilled due to the skills gap.1

Jim Keppler visiting Manufacturing Plants Manufacturing Day is also a day to celebrate our talented workforce, some 19,000 men and women strong here in the US. This spring marked a major manufacturing milestone for us – all of our U.S. plants have officially launched World Class Manufacturing (WCM) in our pursuit of global manufacturing excellence. I’m proud of our workforce for embracing the tools and methodologies of WCM, for working together to grow and improve, and for never accepting the status quo. I’m excited about our future!

The statistics are clear – the economic strength and stability of our country is dependent on manufacturing. There are nearly 13 million manufacturing workers in the United States, accounting for 8.5% of the workforce.2 Taken alone, manufacturing in the US would be the eighth- largest economy in the world.3 For every $1.00 spent in manufacturing, another $1.82 is added to the economy. And for every one worker in manufacturing, there are another four employees hired elsewhere.4

Jim Keppler visiting Manufacturing Plants Manufacturing energizes me because it’s where the rubber meets the road and great concepts and designs come to life into a tangible product. Manufacturing involves the synchronization of processes and people working together with a shared purpose of producing innovative, quality products that improve the lives of our customers. Manufacturing is not just my livelihood, it’s my passion and something I’ve enjoyed being a part of for over 30 years.

For those considering a career in Manufacturing, I promise you will have a true sense of accomplishment as well as the ability to improve peoples’ lives, whether it’s in Manufacturing here at Whirlpool or elsewhere. (But I hope you’ll give us a look!) To our Manufacturing employees, here in the US and around the globe, I want to extend my heartfelt thanks for all that you do each and every day to make Whirlpool the world’s leading major home appliance company. I am proud to work with such a talented and dedicated workforce.

Jim Keppler visiting Manufacturing PlantsWe’re featuring some of our great people in the continuation of our global photojournalism project “Places That Matter.” Launched in 2018, the project highlights our manufacturing employees, our plants and the diverse communities we call home. You can view the Places That Matter videos and read their accompanying blogs here.

1 Source: Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute
2 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
3 Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, International Monetary Fund
4 Source: NAM calculations using IMPLAN