In the spring of 2022, NOSW received a message from Kanisha Hughey, human resources manager with Firestone Industrial Products in Williamsburg, Kentucky. The company wanted to know more about the program and how they might support it.
Sister Robbie Pentecost, NOSW executive director, and other staff took a field trip to Williamsburg to meet with Kanisha and her colleague Jane Broadwell. Firestone was interested in supporting work that empowers women and signed on as a sponsor for NOSW’s Festival of Trees.
When post-COVID costs made the Festival of Trees too expensive to produce, NOSW made the difficult decision to cancel the event for good. But Firestone and other sponsors generously agreed to continue their sponsorships, which would now focus on supporting NOSW programming.
NOSW staff stayed in touch with the Firestone folks and in March 2023 took a tour of the Williamsburg plant, which manufactures air springs and other automotive parts. A plant expansion is in progress to add 250 new jobs building parts for electric vehicles.
With a plant manager who is a woman and several other women in leadership roles, Firestone is eager to diversify its workforce and hire more women. Firestone offers competitive benefits, including assistance with college tuition and certification programs.
NOSW and Firestone discussed ways to partner, including Firestone staff meeting with NOSW women during a residential session and NOSW delivering a program for women workers at the Firestone plant.
“We’re excited about this new partnership with Firestone,” said Sister Robbie. “Like NOSW, Firestone is invested in creating opportunities for women.”