HERSHEY, PA. — After a year-long pilot, the Hershey Co.’s “Say Hola” program is creating positive results at the company’s plant in Hazelton, Pa.

The program, developed in conjunction with Hershey’s Latino Business Resource Group, was designed to reduce language difficulties and promote a bilingual environment. As part of the effort, the company conducted trainings in English and Spanish, produced all signs, labels and forms in both languages and placed bilingual employees and resources on the manufacturing floor to aid in communication.

“At the frontline of our business, our manufacturing employees make what we do possible and are a driving force behind our recent supply chain investments,” said Jason Reiman, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer at Hershey. “By delivering exceptional and inclusive experiences for employees, their families and the greater communities, we are doubling down on our legacy commitment to ensure Hershey is a top workplace for manufacturing workers so that people can grow within our company.”

Increased retention rates and reduced recruitment costs, a byproduct of community enthusiasm and word-of-mouth awareness for the program, are just some markers of success for “Say Hola,” according to the company.

The Hazelton facility also has seen a large increase in highly experienced applicants, with 90% of recruitment classes having desired experience levels versus 50% before the program began.

“The ‘Say Hola’ initiative showcases Hershey’s commitment to our people and the communities in which we live and work — both on a local and global scale,” said Alicia Petross, chief diversity officer at Hershey. “‘Say Hola’ has accelerated the diversity of our workforce — a key element of our DEI roadmap — and provided upskilling, improved recruiting and retention and most importantly, the program fosters a workplace that looks more like the communities our colleagues live in.”