Mobile Workshop Offers a Pathway to Success in the Manufacturing Sector

August 5, 2013

By Matthew Houghton

Details: Pathways to Careers, Thursday, November 14, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Although Seattle is well-known for its strong tech industry, as well as being home to internet and coffee giants Amazon.com and Starbucks, the city also has a growing manufacturing sector. At this year’s Congress of Cities in November, join representatives from Seattle businesses, educational institutions, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to learn about Pathways to Careers, a pioneering partnership to build educational pathways to employment in manufacturing.

Pathways to Careers focuses on four of the fastest growing industry sectors in Seattle: manufacturing, health care, international trade and logistics, and business services. This mobile workshop will focus on the Pathways to Careers’ Industrial Manufacturing Academy, a partnership between Seattle Community Colleges, local manufacturing employers, and the City of Seattle, which was established to train workers for manufacturing jobs.

Mobile workshop participants will have the opportunity to engage directly with business representatives, Seattle Community Colleges representatives, and students and alumni to learn about the program’s success. Participants will also learn what it takes to develop and implement similar types of partnerships and programs in their communities.

Pathways to Careers offers foundational classes that provide industry-recognized skills to low-skilled students. Each quarter has discreet industry certifications that identify employer-recognized competencies, and each quarter builds on the skills learned in the previous quarter. To ensure these skills have as much relevance for both students and employers as possible, Pathways to Careers works directly with businesses in each sector to determine where they have skills gaps, and continuously updates their curricula to fill those gaps.

At the Industrial Manufacturing Academy, employers have been engaged from the outset, as have faculty from across the Seattle Community College District. Some employers have been so engaged that they interviewed prospective students at the beginning of the class and then again at the end to track their progress and ensure they were prepared for employment. Six students of the first 15 in the Pathways to Careers program had job offers before they had completed the program.

Pathways to Careers also recognizes that some students may bring valuable skills to the program, and provide credits for work experience. This allows students to complete the program in a shorter time frame, and can be especially important for veterans. English and math are fully integrated into course work, so students don’t need to take separate classes to learn these topics. All of these program elements ensure participants the fastest path to employment.

Learn about Pathways to Careers at the Congress of Cities in Seattle, and discover how a program like this can benefit your community!

Matthew Houghton is the Workforce Development Manager at the City of Seattle Office of Economic Development.