The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) has officially announced its first bilingual manufacturing facility in the U.S. Under the company’s Say Hola’ initiative, the Hershey plant in Hazleton, Pennsylvania now seamlessly integrates both Spanish and English-speaking employees. In place and evolving for nearly one year, this program has enabled hiring of a more experienced workforce, improved retention and reduced recruitment costs. Aspects of ‘Say Hola’ include conducting trainings in both English and Spanish, producing all signs, labels and forms in both Spanish and English, and ensuring bilingual resources are available.
According to a Hershey spokesperson, before the program was launched 50 percent of the facility’s recruitment classes had the desired level of manufacturing experience. Now more than 90 percent of new hires come in with the experience level Hershey prefers. Meanwhile, word-of-mouth has reduced recruitment costs.
Over the past 20 years, Hazleton’s population has seen a rapid growth in Hispanic residents – growing from five to more than 60 percent. The company says that its 50-year-old manufacturing facility is now a mirror of the local community.
Hershey’s partnership with its Latino Business Resource Group (LBRG) was pivotal in ideating, planning and executing the ‘Say Hola’ initiative.