Whirlpool workers shift to new plant in Cleveland

Whirlpool workers shift to new plant in Cleveland

February 1st, 2012 by Mike Pare in Business Around the Region

Whirlpool logo appears on the face of a refrigerator for sale at the Sears Grand store in Solon, Ohio. (AP File Photo/Amy Sancetta, file)

Whirlpool logo appears on the face of a...

Whirlpool has started moving into its state-of-the-art plant in Cleveland, Tenn., and it will hold a job fair Saturday as it begins bringing on new workers.

Amy Killam, director of human resources for Whirlpool in Cleveland, said the job fair will mark the first phase of hiring for the $120 million plant that will replace its existing facilities.

The company said in September 2010 when it announced the project that it would hire an added 130 workers to go with the some 1,500 employees the appliance maker has in Bradley.

Saturday's job fair won't aim to staff up the entire 130 at this time, she said. The job fair also will fill some posts empty because of attrition, Killam said. She wouldn't give a jobs hiring target, saying it's "a decent size."

Gary Farlow, the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce's chief executive, said officials are heartened to see Whirlpool hiring for the 1 million-square-foot factory on Benton Pike.

"It's a big project," he said about Whirlpool Corp.'s largest-ever new plant project. "They're beginning to move equipment in and test its new product line."

Killam said Whirlpool plans to take about a year-and-a-half to move all its employees to the new location from the plant that dates back more than 100 years.

She termed the new site "amazing."

"It's new everything. It's one big, bright building," Killam said. "It's not scattered out. All the employees are in one location."

Farlow said a task force is studying what to do with the existing Whirlpool plant, which assembles ranges and ovens.