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.

AJAC’s Manufacturing Academy has partnered with Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration and Pioneer Human Services this past year to offer young adults an opportunity to learn job-ready skills through the 12-week, pre-apprenticeship program. With the thousands of baby boomers nearing retirement, new, innovative pipelines must be created to maintain the employment levels in aerospace manufacturing. “Being able to work with younger kids who have made mistakes, but we want to provide them with skills so their life can take a different trajectory once they are done,” said Demetria “Lynn” Strickland, AJAC’s Executive Director.

Upon completion of the program, students will have certifications in forklift, flagger, OSHA 10, CPR/First-Aid and experience in basic manufacturing skills including machining, assembly, composites, shop math and precision measurement.

A special thanks to the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services for shedding light on these amazing individuals.

 

He is a jack of all trades but he has mastered the perfect pizza combo. Meet AJAC’s new Apprenticeship Preparation Manager, Jim Johnson! 

What’s the best part of your job so far?
Everything! I have the opportunity to work with the instructors and the students to make sure that we are providing the best overall experience, with the best instructors.

What’s your greatest achievement and how has it shaped you?
My family! I have 4 girls and to watch them grow into the fantastic adults that they are has been a true pleasure.

What was your dream job growing up?
I always wanted to be an astronaut. I watched the launch of Sputnik and the first walk on the moon and thought that would be an awesome job.

Would you rather be a jack of all trades or a master of one?
I have always wanted to learn everything I can, so a jack of all trades is the route that I have taken and it has worked well for me.

What is your perfect pizza?
That’s easy. My perfect pizza is mushroom, black olive and Canadian bacon.

Learn more about AJAC’s apprenticeship preparation program, the Manufacturing Academy here

 

The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, in partnership with the YWCA and South Seattle College hosted the first-ever Women in Manufacturing Symposium at South Seattle College – Georgetown Campus, highlighting the training and career opportunities available to women in advanced manufacturing.

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AJAC’s Executive Director Lynn Strickland (left) and AJAC Machining Apprentice Ebonee Heller (right) of Pioneer Industries

The symposium was led by a panel of women who are involved or currently work in manufacturing, including career navigators, apprenticeships and industry managers. The panel fielded questions regarding the role of women in advanced manufacturing and how AJAC’s pre-apprenticeship program, the Manufacturing Academy (MA), can boost their confidence and provide job-ready skills for a rewarding career. AJAC’s MA utilizes a comprehensive approach to retraining workers through 10 weeks of hands-on learning, soft skills training, insight into the industry, and applied mathematics.

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The panelists debunked every myth in manufacturing, from the “dark and dirty” shop floor to the applied shop math. The most frequent question asked during the symposium rested on the presumption that manufacturing poses barriers to women including their lack of transferable skills, “you have to get in there and take the extra step,” said Donna Raz, a Manufacturing Academy instructor. The days of mindless heavy-lifting have been replaced by innovative techniques and state-of-the-art technology which some say, women are a better fit for. “Women have better hand-eye coordination and attention to detail,” said one panelist. These skills are ideal for many careers in manufacturing such as Quality Assurance and Maintenance Technicians.

Women – welcome back to manufacturing

Nevertheless, a booming industry requires a well-trained workforce, but how can an industry that is historically represented by men challenge the status-quo that women can play a role in manufacturing?

For starters, the industry needs to focus on empowering women to try something new and bold that takes them out of their comfort zone. It’s no secret, local manufacturers want to hire more women, but very few apply.

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AJAC’s Technical Specialist, Teri Hegel demonstrates machining on a HAAS CNC VF 2 

Advocacy for women in manufacturing is key to creating a more diversified and well-balanced workforce. Through conversation and encouragement, manufacturing has a strong chance to continue its reign as America’s backbone. Take on the challenge of building something new every day and as one panelist said “women – welcome back to manufacturing.”

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Senator Patty Murray stopped by the Seattle Manufacturing Academy program on August 9th to discuss how the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has helped undeserved and disadvantaged individuals to a rewarding career in aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Check out more photos from the day below!

 

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