New jobs to come from Whirlpool investment at Amana
By ANDREA FURLONG
A $20 million investment in Whirlpool Amana will create 90 new jobs while allowing for facility improvements and greater efficiency, Amana Whirlpool officials announced at a press conference Thursday, Feb. 18, in Amana.
The majority of the investment will be made by the Whirlpool Corporation, while $6.5 million will come from a forgivable loan from the state and $1.5 million from Iowa County tax increment financing (TIF).
Dan Smith, vice president of Whirlpool Amana, said the investment will retain 1,600 of the 1,700 jobs at the facility and “enable the Amana Division to drive improvements in quality and efficiency, as well as improve the facility itself for the longer term.”
Smith said efficiencies will include roofing improvements, building and parking lot improvements and the installation of energy efficient lighting.
An additional 60 jobs will become available through the transition of production of 50-lb icemakers from its Evansville, Indiana facility to Amana in July.
“Both of these very important developments allow us to be in a great position to compete on best cost, best quality and best safety,” Smith said.
The 150 new jobs will be made available to Whirlpool Amana employees who were recently laid off. Priority will be given to those with seniority. Ninety employees will be back at work within the next two weeks, Smith said.
Approximately 200 employees were laid off last month, while 440 lost their jobs when the poor economy led to reduced demand two years ago. Iowa County Board of Supervisors Chair Linda Yoder said the 150 new jobs will be welcome news to those employees.
“Many Whirlpool employees live in our neighboring communities and counties, so the benefit and the impact from Whirlpool’s continued success will be felt throughout the corridor and throughout this region,” she said.
UPDATED February 18, 2010 4:03 PM