In June, Tina Camp completed 700 hours of training for massage therapy through Bodyworks Massage Institute. It’s a career switch forced upon her when Camp, a 14-year veteran of Whirlpool, lost her job. The refrigerator manufacturer’s departure to Mexico meant she — and 1,100 employees — had to find a new job.
At Whirlpool, Camp began as a tube puller, one who put boxes on refrigerators. Before she was let go in 2010, Camp was an assembler adding parts to appliances as they rumbled along the conveyor belt on a line employees called “hell.”
“It was the hottest area,” Camp says. “It wasn’t an air conditioned plant. If it was 90 degrees outside, it was 120 degrees in there.” Camp and her co-workers moved quickly. They added parts every two to four seconds, and her line produced 600 to 800 refrigerators every shift.
Call her nostalgic, but that kind of commitment and hard work still resonates with her — and the other employees laid off from the plant. “Whirlpool decided they didn’t want to be here any more, and they lost a lot of really good workers,” Camp says. “Whoever decides to go into that building is going to get some good workers who take pride in their work.”
As much as Whirlpool’s decision changed Camp’s life, she took the adjustment in stride. “With (Whirlpool) headed to Mexico,” she says, “I had a chance to go back to school.” She wavered between physical and massage therapy until her 9-year-old grandson made her decision: massage therapy. “Always listen to a child,” she says.
Camp spent one minute inside Bodyworks before she said, “This is where I need to be. This is what I should be doing.” For now, Camp is on the job hunt.