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Whirlpool funds Benton Harbor housing project

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 5:15 PM EDT
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BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (WNDU) - Whirlpool was commended Tuesday for “putting its money where they’re mouth is.”

The company broke ground in grand fashion on an 80-unit, four story apartment building that it hopes will house some of its future workers.

The theory is that every company’s survival depends on attracting talented workers and that one of the key things recruits are looking for in making a move is available, affordable, and safe housing.

Today brought groundbreaking ceremonies for a $22 million, four story, 80-unit apartment building on the Paw Paw River—connected to recreational trailer and featuring rooftop amenities.

It’s the kind of place where future Whirlpool workers might want to live.

The site is about 1,000 feet from where Whirlpool was founded in 1911.

Tuesday’s ceremonies were attended by Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer who told the crowd, “I’ve been to a lot of groundbreakings, both for businesses and for housing development, but this is unique to have a top employer in the community putting meaningful skin in the game.”

“When they brought the idea, I jumped on it. I was for it from the beginning, and I said I’m all excited and ready to get started,” Benton Harbor City Commissioner Ruthie Haralson told 16 News Now.

The apartment project comes nine years after Whirlpool moved its North American head quarters to Benton Harbor.

In the past ten years, the company says it has invested a total of $200 million in Benton Harbor.

“Were a big company in a small community. If you’re a big company in a small community, you can’t look away, you can’t hide, You’re part of the community. It’s not like we’re in a big city where you can rely on somebody else doing x or y. “We have a responsibility to work with the community, for the community, and give back to the community, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Whirlpool CEO Mark Bitzer.

Whirlpool employs some 75,000 workers worldwide. About 4,000 of those are in the Twin Cities area.

Whirlpool officials say they continue to have openings in critical capability positions.

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