Featured Shop: Housekeeping & Laundry and Filters

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Problem solving, responsibility and success are common themes in the Housekeeping & Laundry and Filters divisions of IPI’s Anamosa Plant. The shop manager teaches the individuals training here that what happens in their shop each day is vital to their personal development, and this is reflected in the work they do.

Tammy Luchtenburg, an IPI Production Coordinator, expects strong work ethic and professional behavior from each of the individuals, which challenges them to keep learning. “Our supervisor gives good guidelines and helps us make good decisions,” said Andrew*, an incarcerated individual.

Luchtenburg has been working with IPI for over 30 years, and she currently manages both the Housekeeping & Laundry and Filters divisions by herself. “It’s unique working solo in one shop with two entirely separate divisions with about 20 incarcerated individuals,” Luchtenburg said. “It’s a constant head game keeping up with all aspects of two divisions and everything they entail.”

In her time with IPI, Luchtenburg said she has watched “numerous young incarcerated individuals grow into very capable young men, learning skills from how to fill out a work application all the way to amazing computers skills.”

Incarcerated individuals training in the Housekeeping & Laundry and Filters divisions have the opportunity to learn professional and trade skills as they work to complete orders on a tight deadline. The Filters division began in 2005, and provides a variety of HVAC filters but is best known for its pleated filters. The original Housekeeping & Laundry division, formerly known as the Soap shop, opened in Anamosa in 1926. In the last year, Housekeeping & Laundry sales reached $1.6 million and Filters sales hit $412,000. Needless to say, these divisions stay busy, and it’s necessary that the team is able to complete quality work in a timely manner.

Each day provides a new set of challenges, but the team sees them as learning opportunities and takes advantage of them. “Everyday is a new day to learn something new,” said Scott*, an individual in the job-training program.“The patience and time my boss takes to help our team continue to be successful has really impacted me.”

Luchtenburg has been impacted by the men in her shop as well. “It has been rewarding to find guys who have potential and help them realize it and excel,” she said. “Many have just needed someone to give them a chance, a skill set, some boundaries, and then they thrive all on their own.” She said that giving incarcerated individual self worth by allowing them to contribute and be a part of something is one of the most valuable things about the job-training programs.

“I keep learning each day things to help me stay out of prison,” said Paul*, an incarcerated individual, “and how to keep a job on the outside from the things I learned working for IPI.” Paul said learning PIMS and “how to feel good about my work” will be useful in his future. Several other incarcerated individuals working in this shop look forward to using skills and methods they’ve learned from IPI in another job position upon their release.

“I’ve learned to take advantage of every moment at IPI,” said Eric*, an incarcerated individual, “to become a skilled, marketable employee, and to take advantage of the numerous employers involved with employing inmates after release.”

Luchtenburg hopes the men in her shop gain good work ethic and “a skill set that can be transferred to solid work when they return to society” from their experience with IPI.

For more information about the Anamosa plant, please contact Plant Manager Al Reiter at 319-462-3439 oral.reiter@iowa.gov.

*Indicates name change for confidentiality of identity.

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