Family based. Good pay. Good benefits. Those were the three takeaways from students who toured Buyken Metal Products last Thursday as part of a nationwide celebration of manufacturing.

Manufacturing Day—occurring the first Friday of October—is meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers and create a dialogue about why manufacturing is in a better place than ever before.

Buyken Metal Products, an 80 year-old CNC, metal fabrication, and engineering shop, opened their doors on Thursday, October 4th to showcase, highlight and inform the Manufacturing Academy students about their company and what separates them from other manufacturers.

The Manufacturing Academy, sponsored by the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) offers a solid foundational career pathway into aerospace and advanced manufacturing apprenticeship opportunities. Upon completion, students will have the basic foundational skills to find gainful entry-level employment and may meet the minimum qualifications to pursue additional career pathways in advanced manufacturing through AJAC’s portfolio of apprenticeship programs.

“Buyken is continually advancing our technology and streamlining operations. We offer everything from general stamping and brake press operators to laser, punch and CNC operators and programmers,” said Laura Hawk, Buyken’s Operations Manager. “We are always open to looking for new people to add to our family to help make us better while we grow our business.”

14 students from the Manufacturing Academy class received presentations from Buyken about the history of their company, the various positions on the shop floor, and what they look for in future employees. Buyken, a partner in apprenticeship training, offers each employee opportunities to continue their professional development, whether it’s through apprenticeship classes or short-term training programs.

“The CEO was very inspiring and clearly has a great vision for the growth of the company,” said Daniel Cho, a 23 year-old Manufacturing Academy student from Kent, Washington. “He encourages cross training, education, and hands-on learning which is very good to see. The company seems like it really takes care of its ‘family’.”

Manufacturing Day is more than opening doors to the public, its focus is knocking down stereotypes about the industry that have plagued it for decades. For people who have never stepped inside a manufacturing facility before, there are preconceived ideas of what it may be like to work in the industry. For the students, it was nothing short of an irreplaceable experience.

“We hope students’ take away was a clearer sense of the processes, machines, responsibilities and opportunities in the manufacturing environment,” Hawk told the students.

“Buyken appreciates participating in the Manufacturing Day yearly to foster new interest in the manufacturing trades and give students a first-hand view of what they can expect in the metal fabrication workplace.”

For Cho, who has eight weeks left of his Manufacturing Academy class, hopes new pathways, such as those highlighted at Buyken, will bring a newfound interest to the trades, “I am excited for what the future holds for me in this class and my possible endeavors.”

You can learn more about AJAC’s registered apprenticeship preparation program at www.ManufacturingAcademy.org. AJAC is an industry-driven apprenticeship organization, founded on the belief that mastery occurs on the job. Through pre-apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship and adult apprenticeship, all people have the opportunity to earn competitive wages, find meaningful and fulfilling work, and pursue lifelong learning. AJAC currently serves over 350 apprentices and 250 employers across eight high-demand occupations.

On October 6, 2017, students from the Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) toured Gensco, Inc. as part of Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day is a celebration of modern manufacturing meant to inspire the next generation of manufacturers. TPS brought their Blue Media Production film crew to show how HVAC equipment is created and how students learned about careers in this industry.

 

What does it mean to work in manufacturing? For some, they see it as an industry booming with innovative ideas and state-of-the-art technology. For others, they see engineers and machinists designing and developing the next generation of parts for industries including aerospace, medical, and marine.

National Manufacturing Day, celebrated on the first Friday in October brings together the misconceptions, the public perception, and the career pathways that make up what many would argue is the most vital industry to our country. More than anything, Manufacturing Day is an opportunity to bring modern manufacturing to life for the public.

Teri Hegel, AJAC’s Technical Specialist talks with students about CNC Machining during National Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 6th at South Seattle College – Georgetown Campus

For National Manufacturing Day, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) partnered with the Tacoma School District, Rainier Beach High School, OMAX Corporation, Cadence Aerospace – PMW Operations, Gensco, and South Seattle College to offer tours, hands-on activities, and presentations about all things manufacturing. Many of the students we invited were currently enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs such as aerospace science, engineering and manufacturing.

 

2017 is a unique year for AJAC’s Manufacturing Day initiatives, as we launch the next wave of Youth Apprenticeship cohorts for this school year. Students from every background and social-economic status came together and learned what a day-in-the-life is like for a manufacturer; from concept to design, to fabrication and machining. These are the components each company utilizes to make their products world renown.

At Cadence Aerospace – PMW Operations, students saw larger-than-life CNC machines cutting metal parts for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and Airbus’s A320-Neo. They rode a 5-axis Cincinnati Milacron Gantry CNC machine as it spewed coolant over the airplane parts, cutting each part with precision. At Gensco, a company known for its fabrication of HVAC equipment, students were drawn to laser cutters and heavy sheet metal equipment to build commercial heating and ventilation systems we have in our very buildings. OMAX Corporation, the world leader in abrasive waterjet machining, demonstrated how 60,000 PSI of water can machine parts down to the thousands of an inch.

Throughout the three tours, students understood what it takes to become a journey-level machinist or fabricator. AJAC’s registered Youth Apprenticeship and Adult Apprenticeship programs brought to life the career pathways that give them freedom to earn while they learn, complete college-level classes, and refrain from years of college debt.

AJAC would like to thank all of the companies and post-secondary organizations for opening their doors to the world of modern manufacturing. By working together during and after Manufacturing Day, manufacturers will begin to address the skilled labor shortage they face, connect with future generations, take charge of the public image of manufacturing, and ensure the ongoing prosperity of the whole industry.

View our MFG Day 2017 photos on AJAC’s Flickr channel.