Shining the spotlight on manufacturing: AWB Manufacturing Week; Partnership for Learning highlights career opportunities

The Association of Washington Business launches Manufacturing Week in early October, again this year reprising the successful week-long bus tour (click link for video) that was the highlight of last year’s celebration. 

Manufacturers help drive Washington’s economy, employing more than 284,000 people in good-paying careers and contributing more than $60 billion in goods annually. To help raise awareness of how important — and vibrant — manufacturing is in Washington, AWB hits the road in early October for our annual Manufacturing Bus Tour. AWB staffers spend more than a week in a custom-wrapped tour bus, visiting shop floors in every corner of the state and in every sort of industry, from boat-building and agriculture to metal fabrication and window manufacturing.

Complementing the focus on manufacturing, the Partnership for Learning has a sponsored story in the Seattle Times and video (embedded at the top of this post) emphasizing the great career opportunities available in our state’s manufacturing industries.

Nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed in the U.S. by 2025, and 2 million are expected to go unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers, according to a recent study by Deloitte. More applicants with credentials are needed to fill these promising jobs here in Washington.

Manufacturers account for 12.4 percent of Washington’s total output, employing 8.8 percent of the nonfarm workforce. Total output from manufacturing was $58.43 billion in 2016, with 286,300 manufacturing employees. According to the Center for Manufacturing Research, the average annual compensation for manufacturing employees was $87,818 in 2016. In King County, you can make between $50,000 and $60,000 die-cutting and soldering.

To avail themselves of these opportunities, P4L emphasizes, employees will require postsecondary training and education. Or, in their words, “the credential is essential.”

Jenée Myers Twitchell, impact director at the nonprofit Washington STEM, created the Labor Market and Credential Data Dashboard, an online tool that shows the regional wage and required credentials for family-sustaining STEM jobs. Search by credential, years of experience (including none), occupation group or title, wage range and Washington county or state…

Most of the 740,000 job openings estimated by 2021 will be filled by workers with postsecondary credentials, such as a bachelor’s degree, an associate’s degree, an industry certificate or an apprenticeship. Manufacturing credentials in this region include paid Seattle Machinist Apprenticeships, a 9-month South Seattle College (Georgetown Campus) Manufacturing/Machinist Technology Certificate, and a 2-year Associate of Applied Arts & Sciences degree from Shoreline College, which can be earned online.

The article has excellent information on how to tap into the abundant resources in the state.

Community colleges can offer a direct pipeline to a career. Lake Washington Tech and Renton Tech have deep relationships with employers. “[Students] are placed right away because employers really trust that program,” Twitchell says. “In 18 months or less, a student can get placed on the line at a Boeing plant.”

Innovative programs, such as Core Plus, that are available in Washington high schools and skills centers also can give students a head start. Core Plus is a two-year, standardized manufacturing curriculum that is recognized by industry and prepares high school students through hands-on learning.

In partnership with AWB, WorkSource Washington provides a wealth of information on manufacturing careers.