Courtesy of IAM District 751.
The Machinists Institute (MI), the training arm of IAM District 751, continues to make an impact and improve lives for those in the Puget Sound. In March, another group graduated from the Machinists Institute Youth Academy – energized to have learned skills to gain entry-level positions in the manufacturing/aerospace industry. The program is a partnership with Partner in Employment (PIE) to expose area youth immigrants to manufacturing processes and machining skills that can lead to a career pathway to middle-class jobs.
District 751 President Jon Holden congratulated the graduates on their accomplishments. He encouraged them to consider entering an apprenticeship program where you earn while you learn and can obtain a journey-level card that will open doors to middle-class jobs. He also emphasized the importance of seeking union-represented future jobs so you have rights on the job and can determine priorities with your co-workers.
Because the program was created as a vision of IAM District 751, every class teaches a segment on the benefits of union membership to gain rights on the job. This segment is missing from most other manufacturing programs, but should be taught so students can understand the advantage they will have if they have a union job (according to the Department of Labor, union jobs have nearly a 20% pay advantage, along with additional benefits, better health care and much more).
As a result of earlier Youth Academy success, MI and PIE are working to secure additional grants for the future. It is still in the development stages, but if the reaction of those graduating is any indication, the program is having an impact.
MI Instructor and Program Developer Batholomew Kimani clearly inspires students and pushes them out of their comfort zone to tackle more skills. His enthusiasm is contagious.
Over the 10-week course, students get hands-on experience with basic drilling, riveting, deburring and working on mini-lathes. They are exposed to various machining, robotics, CNC machining, programmable logic controllers, soldering, and safety practices while working in a shop environment. The training also introduced students to metrology, depth gauges and radius gauges to gain an understanding of measurement tools, as well as QA concepts. One of the first projects was using calipers to measure a strand of their own hair, which showed each hair had a different measurement. Students also learned fundamental building blocks of CNC programming by cutting their initials into material.
Each student also built an electronic resume that they can continually update as they learn new skills, get additional certificates or gain job experience. The students get to walk through and meet with area employers who are looking for entry-level workers to fill their manufacturing needs. The goal is to get the students interested in the various apprenticeship programs.
“It was such a great thing to learn about an industry that isn’t normally discussed in school. This 10-week program opened my eyes to what you can do not just in manufacturing, but in other industries as well,” said one graduate.
“It was profoundly gratifying to attend the graduation of the next generation of aerospace workers! I applaud District 751 for helping the community and investing in the future by creating the Machinists Institute,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “This work is inspiring, and I commend the leadership of 751 for their vision and determination in pursuing job security for Puget Sound.”
This is just one program offered by the Machinists Institute, which also provides training for our existing members to reach their career goals and is continually adding programs to ensure our aerospace/manufacturing workforce is prepared for challenges of the future.