Bilstein’s opening minimum wage is $15 an hour for first-shift jobs and $15.75 for second- and third-shift jobs.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 5.2 percent, the lowest since the onset of the pandemic in March, when the unemployment rate was at 5.6 percent.
The company has manufactured masks and the “COVID claw” for employees, said Stephanie Flannery, Bilstein Hamilton’s Occupational Safety and Health manager
“Our employees are obviously our priority so it’s important that we keep them healthy and safe,” she said.
She company also credits plant nurse Teri Baker with having “single-handedly kept our plant open” by communicating the latest health guidelines and protocols with employees and being available 24 hours a day, Flannery said.
“We’re just focused on making sure we can still run the business and keep everybody safe, healthy and employed,” Flannery said.
Baker said guidelines and protocols can change frequently because of new information or a better understanding about the virus, so educating employees regularly is important.
“The education has to continue because it’s changing rapidly all the time on so many levels, whether it’s symptoms, if you’re in contact (with someone COVID-19-positive) or how much time you’re in contact,” Baker said.
Schmahl said in Bilstein’s success, whether it’s keeping employees healthy or continual work on innovative technology, “it starts with employee engagement.”
Bilstein Hamilton spokeswoman Sarah King said the company’s culture “is hard to find in most manufacturer environments,” but they’ve “seemed to have mastered it.”
“It’s really neat to see our product getting out there. You get to see it on the vehicles at the end and we try to feel that excitement that what we do is meaningful work and it’s also enjoyable,” she said.