WATERBURY, CONNETICUT — November 10, 2022 — Establishing equity and inclusion within a company is critical to fostering a meaningful work environment that also positively impacts surrounding communities. Eemax® Inc., a manufacturer of tankless electric water heaters, is proud to partner with Easterseals, a nonprofit helping individuals with disabilities and their families live better lives for nearly 100 years. Through a partnership with Easterseals, Eemax is able to drive impact within its local communities, further inclusivity in the workplace and continue its promise of delivering innovative water products to the market. Together, both organizations are setting out to establish a positive and welcoming work atmosphere that breaks down barriers to employment.
“In early 2021, Eemax was faced with a significant need in the assembly workforce and started to research creative solutions that not only helped Eemax but benefited the local community,” said Tyra Bittle, HR supervisor, Eemax. “Easterseals was quickly recognized as an ideal addition to help us meet our goals and needs, while also supporting an important nonprofit program that is making a difference and aligns with Eemax’s core social values.”
Easterseals of Greater Waterbury has worked tirelessly to provide essential programming and assistance that helps people with disabilities address life’s challenges and accomplish individual goals while living, learning, working and playing in their communities. Meanwhile, Eemax has partnered in this effort by supplying quality and fulfilling job opportunities in the booming manufacturing industry.
Established in 1988, Eemax continues to be a leader in the advancement of hot water products with a mission to propel the evolution of efficiency with cutting-edge, tankless electric hot water heating solutions. With the current support of three Easterseals program participants, Eemax has continued this mission, despite challenges posed by COVID and ongoing labor shortages.
With both organizations, Eemax and Easterseals, located in Waterbury, Conn., it served as a catalyst for this partnership that started in April of 2022. Each Easterseals center provides individualized, innovative, family-focused, and tailored services to meet the specific needs of the community served.
“Easterseals was contacted by a member of the Human Resources team at Eemax to start this prosperous partnership,” said Kristie Balisciano, director of marketing and communications, Easterseals. “The original conversations started in 2021 but paused due to COVID limitations, and we are beyond happy that we could get this alliance back on its feet.”
When thinking of the impact of the Eemax and Easterseals partnership, one Easterseal, Darlene, comes to mind. Darlene came to Easterseals six months ago with a willingness to work. At the same time, Easterseals found out there was an opening at Eemax and Darlene was the perfect fit. Darlene’s favorite part about working at Eemax is knowing that she can accomplish goals, while working quickly and efficiently. She is proud of her ability to put together 648 pieces a day. Easterseals believes greater access to quality employment is necessary to achieve full equity and inclusion. Darlene not only has a daily routine, but she also earns a paycheck, and she enjoys spending her earnings on family dinners. Eemax has allowed Darlene, and the individuals that work alongside her, an opportunity to be independent contributors in the community.
“I love working at Eemax,” said Darlene of Easterseals. “They gave me gifts, and I’ve made new friends. I love my job.”
Eemax worked closely with Easterseals’ Group-Supported Employment (GSE) unit, a dedicated group of localized individuals in the community that helps maintain employment, to curate a program tailored to the strengths and skills of participants from the resident community. The result was an Eemax facility-based program that develops meaningful skills around work, socialization and community participation, in addition to important vocational skills to support short and long-term career goals.
Easterseals employees work on a variety of assembly tasks on several different tankless electric water heater parts for Eemax. Examples of important responsibilities include putting O-rings on multiple different bosses that are used in over 500 different heater models and bundling wire harnesses that are used on over a thousand different heater models. These jobs provide a wealth of knowledge for those interested in careers within the manufacturing industry.
“Easterseals participants are here every day happy and ready work,” said Richard Kwieraga, operations superintendent, Eemax. “I cannot explain to you the happiness it brings to us seeing Easterseals enjoying working with us at Eemax and taking pride in what they do.”
Eemax plans to continue to develop and grow its Easterseals relationship and nurture a safe, diverse work environment and experiences that are open to all. Both companies are committed to demonstrating that everyone deserves to be valued, respected and accepted in the workplace. Together, these organizations are empowering people of all abilities and their families to be full and equal participants in their communities, while also helping to propel a manufacturing industry that is critically important to the health and stability of the U.S. economy.
Eemax maintains a sharp focus on supporting the communities and the surrounding areas it serves nationwide. Not too long ago, during peak COVID times, Eemax donated ten of its new Handwashing Portable Stations to Waterbury Public Schools to help provide students access to safe and effective handwashing while at school as part of its “Heart of Comfort” program.
Today, Eemax products impact the local community by serving energy-efficient hot water in restaurants, schools, manufacturing facilities, commercial restrooms, laundries, breweries, medical facilities and more. A partnership with Easterseals provided a perfect opportunity to further enhance its local impact.
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