EVERETT — Ten Puget Sound school teachers have a better idea of what goes on at the Boeing Co. — and how to better-prepare their students to work there — after spending nine days with Machinists Union members and other company employees.
The 10 were part of a first-ever “externship” at Boeing, which brought math, science and technology teachers from Snohomish and King county high schools and middle schools in for factory tours and meetings with boeing employees.
The externship was organized by IAM/Boeing Joint Programs, as part of a joint effort by the union and the company to make educators more aware of the opportunities Puget Sound students have for careers in aerospace.
“Our goal was to provide them with teaching tools for their classrooms and hands-on experience in the factories,” said Grace Holland, a Joint Programs administrator who was the union’s point person for the project. “We need them to help spread the word among teenagers, that whether you go through a university, community college or apprenticeship, there will be opportunities for you to have good careers in aerospace.”
With a third of the Machinists Union workforce at Boeing eligible to retire, it’s essential for the future of both the company and the union to get more people interested about working in aerospace, said Tom Wroblewski, the president of Machinists Union District Lodge 751.
“This summer externship was just a first step,” he said. “We’re working together to recruit a new generation of Boeing employees and Machinists Union members, and we’re going to try any number of new approaches to do that.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents some 32,000 working men and women at 48 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2011, District 751 members ratified a four-year contract extension with Boeing that ensured the 737 MAX will be built in Puget Sound.