The GE Healthcare Madison manufacturing plant has begun assembling two infant health care machines, which will add a new patient base to their plant and provide an increased number of jobs to people in Dane County.

As of Jan. 2, the company started manufacturing a baby warming machine called “Panda” and will be assembling an infant incubator called the “Giraffe” starting in the second half of 2018, Madison plant manager Mark Goyette said.

Communications senior manager for GE Healthcare Velia Tarnoff believes these technologies will benefit the Madison and Dane County area with more technology, which will help many in the community.

The reason for the job growth is that the company will be manufacturing more items, and as a result will need more employees. This is where the Madison community will see the most economic benefit, Tarnoff said.

“GE Healthcare expects to be producing thousands of these advanced systems in Madison and hiring to support these production efforts,” Tarnoff said. “These developments represent production capacity added to the existing GE Healthcare manufacturing lines in Madison.”

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In 2016, GE contributed $8.1 billion in direct, indirect and induced total production output in the state of Wisconsin. Additionally, GE’s economic presence in Wisconsin supports nearly 25,000 direct, indirect and induced full-time jobs. These numbers are expected to only grow with this program, Tarnoff said.

The Madison GE Healthcare plant has been in the city since 1970 and has been making anesthesia machines and ventilators for years. These machines have been a part of the basic life-saving tools in operating rooms all over the world, Goyette said.

The manufacturing of these machines was recently moved to Madison from a plant in Maryland. Though there will be more activity in the plant, it does not require any physical expansion to the current building, Goyette said. Instead, there will be internal remodeling and repurposing the space.

Goyette said as a result of the additional manufacturing, the GE Healthcare plant in Madison has hired about 25 production workers and several engineers, many from the University of Wisconsin. The plant expects the number to grow as well once the company sees where more help will be needed.

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In addition to the UW Hospital, every neonatal intensive care unit in Dane County is currently equipped with some of these new GE products, so everyone in the community will be able to see the products currently being made, Goyette said.

While more indirect, an additional benefit to the community is GE Healthcare’s history of giving back to the local community with the money they make, Tarnoff said.

“In 2016, GE helped contribute $7.3 million in charitable donations in Wisconsin,” Tarnoff said. “GE Healthcare Madison employees support numerous activities and events in the Dane County community, including the Breast Cancer awareness walk, food pantry drives and assisting families in need during the holidays.”

Many employees are also supporters of East Madison Community Center, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Project Backpack, Red Cross Blood Drives, Ronald McDonald House, United Way Day of Giving and the Vera Court, Tarnoff said.

With the added number of employees, Tarnoff said the plant will be able to reach even more people in their charity efforts, benefiting the local economy even more.

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UW will also experience some of the benefits of this expansion, as GE Healthcare is a strong partner with the university. This was seen most recently in their help with the engineering week-long camp for grade-school girls this past summer, Goyette said.

“Having GE Healthcare in Dane County and expanding our operation allows us to be a bigger part of the community,” Goyette said. “To have the opportunity to continue to grow and develop local talent that may ultimately find its way into GE specifically, or our suppliers, to invent, create and build these great new technologies we have.”