When the school bus pulled up in front of Broan-NuTone LLC in
Hartford on Thursday afternoon it wasn’t students that were
lining up for a tour — it was teachers and guidance counselors
from the West Bend School District.
More than 200 seventh-through 12th-grade counselors and teachers
from the School District visited six manufacturing companies and
two health care providers as part of an initiative by the
Washington County Workforce Alliance. It occurred on a staff
development day and West Bend School District students had no
“It has been very interesting,” West Bend high schools band
director Leah Duckert said after a tour of Signicast Investment
Castings in Hartford and before the tour at Broan-NuTone, also
Duckert said the purpose of the half-day field trip to see jobs
being performed up close “is to make sure that we offer
manufacturing positions to our students as career options.”
Rae Wilde, a teacher with the Spartan/Sun Community Program, the
district’s alternate high school, said getting to see the
different types of jobs — and the skills needed to do them — was
important to her.
“This has been a good opportunity to learn about manufacturing
jobs in particular,” Wilde said. “Our students have to create a
career plan before they leave our program, so it was exciting to
see firsthand the kinds of jobs that are available in
“We felt it was important for district staff to better
understand the needs of today’s workforce. The tours will help
them bring the relevancy such jobs into their classrooms,” West
Bend School Superintendent Ted Neitzke said.
Broan-NuTone Vice President of Manufacturing Wayne Losinke, who
held a question-and-answer session with the groups after tours,
said the company is interested in working with area school
districts to set up co-op programs and apprenticeships.
Losinke said entry-level employees need to have a high school
diploma or a GED.
“Technical degrees aren’t necessary to start unless they are
going into an engineering or a financial position in the
company,” Losinke said. “We are a very stable company. We have
35 employees who have 40 years or more on the job here. We will
have to replace a large number of our employees as they retire.”
“There are good opportunities for growth in our company and
employees can advance quite quickly. We like to promote from
within the company and to grow our own talent,” Losinke said.
“Our pay is good and we have an excellent tuition reimbursement
program for employees.”
Losinke said manufacturing is “a good career path.”
Broan-NuTone LLC in Hartford is the company’s headquarters. It
has plants and offices in eight other countries, including
China, Poland, Australia, Chile, Italy, Canada and Mexico. Broan
is the country’s leading brand of residential ventilation
systems such as range hoods and heater/ fan/light units. NuTone
is a leading brand of convenience products for residential use,
such as door chimes, central vacuum systems and intercoms.
A tour of the 500,000square-foot Hartford plant reveals the high
level of automation used in the manufacturing of range hoods.
The robotics, however, need workers to program and to maintain
them, said Dave Roskopf, a Broan-NuTone employee who served as a
tour guide to one of the groups.
Roskopf said workers are cross-trained and rotate to different
positions each hour. The company runs three shifts a day.
A prospective employee can expect an interview and physicals,
lift assessments, and drug screening as part of the hiring
process, Roskopf said.
The company also offers positions in purchasing, customer
service, accounting, drafting and engineering, he said.
The other tour stops included Triton Trailers LLC, Aurora
Advanced Healthcare, Serigraph Inc., Regal Ware Inc., Froedtert
& the Medical College of Wisconsin St. Joseph’s Hospital and