Kailey Harding’s interest in manufacturing first peaked when she saw students making carbon fiber skateboards at the Pierce County Skills Center. As an avid longboarder, she was immediately drawn to the hands-on learning.
After two years of learning composites, fabrication, and machining through the skills center, Kailey landed a job as a machinist and immediately enrolled in AJAC’s four-year machinist apprenticeship program. Through her time in the apprenticeship, Kailey grew her foundational machining skills through one-on-one mentorship and industry-aligned curriculum delivered by AJAC’s instructors.
Her current role at Spearman Corporation in Kent, Washington is to create high tolerance parts for commercial and military airplanes. Over the last three years, Kailey has proudly machined parts for the Boeing 737, 777, and 767 respectively.
For Kailey, the industry as a whole can do a better job of marketing manufacturing to women. “It’s really not influenced. You don’t see advertising to say ‘Hey, females, work here!’ It is a big growth process to get to where I am today. Overall, it is a morale boost going to AJAC. You’re learning different things throughout the four years and every time you learn something new, you can take it back to work and apply it.”
Kailey’s advice to encourage more women to pursue manufacturing: “No matter where you work, you have to have the passion for it. If it is in you, and you are feeling a little nervous, step on in it. I would definitely get into AJAC’s because they are going to guide you and support you. Go for it; be confident in your words, and who you are.”
Kailey is in the third year of her machinist apprenticeship and expects to graduate in 2022.