Manitowoc offers ‘fresh start’ for women in recovery

Oftentimes, life is not so rosy. Such is the case for women living in Brooke’s House, a substance abuse treatment program in Hagerstown, MD.

Brooke’s House and The Manitowoc Company are helping women find a fresh start, forge lifelong skills and build a career.

A year ago, several graduates of the treatment program moved to a newly restored bungalow. The residence is a place for these women to forge a fresh start, and The Manitowoc Company is helping them do so. In fact, the bungalow was dedicated as “The Manitowoc House,” a reflection of the crane manufacturer’s commitment to the Brooke’s House program and its residents.

“Manitowoc believes in the mission of Brooke’s House, and we recognize the challenges these women face as they re-enter the workforce,” said Manitowoc’s Dave Hull. “As one of the region’s leading manufacturers, we want to be part of the solution by providing them with training and jobs that offer not only a sustainable income but boundless potential.”

Besides providing a place for these women to live, Manitowoc is training and hiring them. Of the 24 women who have come to the program, 15 have been hired and trained by Manitowoc in welding and assembly operations. They are now helping build mobile hydraulic cranes, crawler cranes and boom trucks under the company’s Manitowoc, Grove, National Crane and Shuttlelift brands.

Training and confidence

Many of the women in the Brooke’s House program do not have the work backgrounds or skillsets to transition to fulfilling jobs or careers. According to the Brooke’s House website, these women battle confidence issues to successfully make the transition from addiction to recovery.

Of the 24 women who have come to the program, 15 have been hired and trained by Manitowoc in welding and assembly operations.

Manitowoc is helping with this through training and encouragement. Several Brooke’s House residents enrolled in Manitowoc’s six-week welding school and are now navigating a career in which they are earning money and respect. One of these women said it was fulfilling to “put something together with your own hands and be so well-accepted into this heavy manufacturing environment.”

Hull said Manitowoc recognized that there is a global need to support women in recovery.

“They need resources for recovery like those provided by Brooke’s House and job skills they can develop with the support of companies like Manitowoc to help build a brighter future,” he said. “The hope is that other organizations can model the partnership between Brooke’s House and Manitowoc to build similar programs to support their communities.”

With the manufacturing sector constantly facing worker shortages, this type of workforce development can be a win-win for everyone involved.

The program underscores Manitowoc’s commitment to our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, the company said.

A different approach

Kevin and Dana Simmers started Brooke’s House in 2015 after losing their daughter Brooke to a heroin overdose. She had been in several in-house rehab programs. The Simmers wanted to create a program that was different and that would follow the women beyond recovery.

“That’s when we decided that we wanted to really fulfill her dream to have a treatment house that treated women with dignity and respect, and gives them an honest chance of recovery,” Kevin Simmers said.

The Manitowoc team is committed to this outreach.

“It is not just a feel-good story,” said Manitowoc’s Ion Warner. “The program underscores Manitowoc’s commitment to our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. We are providing career-building employment opportunities to the women who live in our community. We believe this story embodies the essence of who we are at Manitowoc. It is an example of recruiting new employees while making a positive impact on the communities we serve. Substance abuse in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions, and we all need to do something to give hope to those in need.”

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