A Message from our President…
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” —Greek Proverb
Operating since 1901 in the same community, and through four generations, Humphrey Products is strongly committed to sewing and nurturing the seeds of education and workforce development. We are keenly aware that we will not be the primary beneficiary of these efforts and recognize that a stronger community is what makes us a stronger company. It is the quality of our team members which has differentiated Humphrey Products from its many competitors and allowed us to thrive for over 117 years. Through the Kalamazoo Promise, our community has gained worldwide acclaim for the generosity of anonymous benefactors who provide free post-secondary tuition for our high school graduates. We feel very blessed to continue to contribute whatever we can to help remove barriers for these students so that they can take advantage of this tremendous opportunity; and are especially eager to help encourage as many of them as possible onto STEM career paths. We are proud of our community and of the unique opportunity Humphrey Products has been afforded to spend over a century helping tend the trees planted by those long before us.
MICareerQuest is a two day event which draws upwards of 5,000 eighth grade students from Kalamazoo and Calhoun County to the Kalamazoo Expo Center. Students experience this interactive, hands–on, informational and inspiring career and college readiness event unlike any other. Employers from the region work together to produce exciting interactive exhibits to engage and educate students on the possibilities and opportunities in adult life once their education is complete.
Humphrey Products’ exhibit engages students with balsa airplane interactive assembly challenge. Once assembled, the students use a pneumatic launcher, to fire the plane down range to a target. Students are exposed to hands on assembly processes as well as to simple pneumatic circuitry to launch the plane. At MICareerQuest students engage Humphrey engineering, human resource group, sales, college interns and company executives for questions they might have.
As a successful Midwest manufacturer, Humphrey Products supports the Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency’s (KRESA) Education for Employment (EFE) program. EFE’s commitment to student success and belief in providing the highest quality educational experiences aligns well with Humphrey’s dedication to growing today’s student into tomorrow’s citizen. The EFE program allows grade 10 through 12 students to begin course work in a career field of interest. This puts the student in a position to grow and to jump-start a career or post-secondary education.
Humphrey Products participates on the KRESA, EFE Advisory board who provide appropriate direction in an ever changing technology world. Additionally, Humphrey provides skilled maintenance personal when necessary to help install, troubleshoot and maintain manufacturing equipment used in the computerized manufacturing lab. And Humphrey has placed relevant machines and tools on site to give students an experience with the same equipment they will use in industry.
KRESA and Humphrey Products – Preparing today’s students for tomorrow’s careers.
Teachers from Kalamazoo Public Schools visit Humphrey to learn about skill requirments for careers in manufacturing.
The Giving Garden is a volunteer partnership between Humphrey Products, the Master Gardeners of Kalamazoo County, and our neighbors Kendall Electric. Together for over 20 years Humphrey has provided the fruitful land for this worthy cause. The garden’s coordinators and community volunteers, including Humphrey employees, use the land to grow produce which is provided to families in need throughout Southwest Michigan. This produce is distributed through local charitable organizations such as Ministry with Community and Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes to name a few. In recent years, the Giving Garden has produced approximately 15,000 pounds of food each year for families in need.
For over 30 years Humphrey Products has been a proud sponsor of Junior Achievement. We strongly believe that financial and economic literacy are requisite needs for our economic system and that Junior Achievement plays a vital role in providing an un-met need for this education. In addition to providing classroom consultants to deliver this programming to the youth in our region, Humphrey is an annual sponsor of the JA Titan Challenge program which brings together high school participants from all of Kalamazoo County for a one day head-to-head challenge at WMU’s Haworth College of Business. This competition challenges the students to most successfully run a comprehensive business simulation program by optimizing elements such as supply chain, pricing, marketing and production levels. This program reinforces the following pillars of student success: Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy and Work Readiness. Winners of the regional challenge are eligible for state and subsequently national competitions.
Communities In Schools works to ignite hope in kids so that they can succeed in school, graduate and be prepared for life. CIS addresses the barriers that get in the way of success. CIS Site Coordinators literally bring the community and all the ways it can help, into the schools. This is how we surround kids with whatever it takes-from tutors and food assistance to health services and college visits-so they can start strong and keep moving forward.
Humphrey Products supports Communities in Schools with both financial support and through programming such as their Skilled Trades Career Exploration. Working in conjunction with Pfizer we were able to provide manufacturing and supply chain exposure to students from Kalamazoo’s Loy Norrix High School.
As a long-time participant with United Way, Humphrey employees are committed to Change The Story in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek communities, with a strategic focus in the areas of Education, Income, Health and Basic Needs.
Humphrey’s United Way Theme Agency of the Year for our 2018 campaign was Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK). RAWK exists to celebrate and amplify youth voices through the cultivation of reading and writing skills via joy, creativity, equity, and access. Founded in 2012, Read and Write Kalamazoo (RAWK) is a nonprofit organization based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, devoted to nurturing intellectual and creative confidence in youth in Kalamazoo County through creative writing workshops, community partnerships and reading-themed events. As our theme agency we both provided financial support for RAWK’s mission as well as made it our focus for the 2018 day of caring. Several Humphrey employees were able to participate in RAWK workshops where we helped young people find their voice and assemble their own book as a reminder of its importance.
Project Lead The Way drives and promotes students to have access to real-world, applied learning experiences that empower them to gain the skills they need to thrive in college, career and beyond. PLTW focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills and their fundamental necessity in everyday life. They support learning through structured activities and projects that empower students to become independent in the classroom and help them build various skill sets. This fosters the development of transportable skills such as problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication.
Humphrey Products is one of several local manufacturers who have collectively donated over $50,000 to bring Project Lead The Way to Kalamazoo area classrooms. Thanks to that generosity, 500 students are now engaged in STEM education at Schoolcraft and Portage Central middle schools and Vicksburg High School. Dave Maurer, president of Humphrey Products is optimistic: “I feel very strongly that once the community is exposed to PLTW, the energy will build to make it a prominent part of filling the STEM learning gap. If we’re going to be successful as a community we need to identify STEM programs that can engage a much broader population of students, especially those who are likely to remain residents after their high school or college careers.”
Humphrey enjoys a partnership with Kalamazoo based – Western Michigan University, employing student interns from the engineering and supply chain colleges. Student interns gain valuable, practical experience in their chosen field, participating in day to day activities and special projects. Even more, interns begin to experience elements of a career in a manufacturing-based business environment ahead of graduation, including the employment interviewing process, performance reviews, working in teams, meeting deadlines, applying technical skills, developing communication skills, and doing so while making valuable contributions to the Humphrey organization.
Bigs in Business is a Big Brothers Big Sisters program that connects professionals with limited time an opportunity to be a Big Brother or Big Sister at their workplace. The Bigs in Business program partners with local companies to match up workers with “Littles.” Twice each month, Littles visit the Bigs’ place of work, not only connecting with their Bigs, but receiving valuable exposure to the work world.
Humphrey employees are making a BIG difference
Since 2017, Humphrey employees have helped defend the futures of local children through the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Bigs in Business program. Currently, students from Comstock High School visit their Humphrey “Bigs”. The matches, as the pairs are called, meet to develop and grow their friendship by exploring various facets of the workplace and by participating in a variety of activities. The students experience the work setting and are introduced to career options while gaining a greater appreciation for the importance and relevance of their education. “Humphrey’s Bigs in Business mentors help students prepare for the next step in their lives after high school graduation,” says Kaitlin Martin, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ senior match support specialist. “Whether they’re continuing their education or going into the workforce, the students are learning valuable lessons from their Bigs. It can be anything from what types of careers are out there to how to correctly answer a business phone.”
Humphrey is a long-time sponsor/mentor of FIRST Robotics. The FIRST Robotics Competition is an international high school robotics competition, inspiring students into the Science and Technology fields. Each year, students are challenged with producing a functional robot developed for the competition and under strict rules and limitations of time and resources. In the recent past, Humphrey employees have participated as mentors for Kalamazoo area student teams.