SEATTLE – The Machinists Union and Boeing Co. are working together to bring a new generation of skilled workers into Washington state’s aerospace industry.
One of the joint projects between Boeing and Machinists Union District Lodge 751 is aimed at interesting young people in careers in the aerospace industry through an IAM/Boeing Joint Workforce Development Team.
Then once young people have decided on a career building airplanes, Boeing and the union are the leading sponsors of an Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee program that is delivering cutting-edge training to community colleges and aerospace suppliers statewide.
District 751 is actively recruiting its members to take part in one of the Joint Workforce Development Team’s projects – sending veteran aerospace workers into Washington schools to talk with students about why they should consider a career in manufacturing.
“Our members, the subject matter experts, are the best choice to energize and explain the benefits and rewards of choosing such a career,” a union spokeswoman said.
Working together, the company and union have helped establish an aerospace manufacturing curriculum at vocational skills centers across Washington. The program includes Boeing factory tours for administrators, teachers and students from those skills centers, and summertime professional development activities for vocational education teachers involved with aerospace or manufacturing.
After high school, young adults will be able to take advantage of aerospace apprenticeship training offered by AJAC – the state-funded Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee.
AJAC in April unveiled one its latest projects – its Advanced Inspection and Manufacturing Mobile Training Unit.
The unit is a classroom fitted inside a 53-foot semi trailer that’s outfitted with a number of state-of-the-art manufacturing tools. The portable classroom is designed to help students in community college aerospace training programs – or entry-level workers at aerospace companies around the state – learn all aspects of product development, design, manufacturing and inspection.
“Students can go from designing a product to manufacturing it on a 3D prototyping machine, and then using high-end inspection equipment to ensure quality, said Laura Hopkins, who is AJAC’s executive director and a Machinists Union member.
Because the classroom is mobile, it “allows our state to benefit from this state-of-the-art equipment without having to replicate it at every location across the state,” said Larry Brown, District 751’s legislative director.
The union’s goal is to “ensure that no job leaves the state of Washington because we don’t have enough skilled workers,” Brown said. “We know that a trained workforce is our competitive advantage.”
Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at the Boeing Co., District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents more than 31,500 working men and women at 48 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In December, District 751 members ratified a four-year contract extension with Boeing that ensured the 737 MAX will be built in Puget Sound.
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