Manufacturing Month Involvement

Thursday, January 04, 2018

As the manufacturing and fabrication industries continue to shift, APEX investor-members cite workforce development as a top area of concern. To address this concern, APEX ramped up efforts with the Arrowhead Manufacturers & Fabricators Association (AMFA) to ensure a strong future workforce for the manufacturing and fabrication industries.
Sandy Johnson, APEX Manager of Member Relations and Administration, took the lead in creating and disseminating posters and brochures about manufacturing career pathways to regional tech schools and workforce development centers as well as middle and high schools.

This effort happened in October to coincide with Manufacturing Month. The materials were used as recruiting tools for regional manufacturers. Since area businesses are currently in need of welders, machinists and A & P mechanics, the materials illustrated the educational requirements and pay scales for each career path along with regional employers seeking these types of workers.

APEX and AMFA’s efforts helped students make the connection between the manufacturing process and existing jobs through facility tours. Over 400 students from Superior, Iron Range, Hermantown, Proctor, Esko, Cloquet, Wrenshall, Carlton and Duluth schools visited local manufacturing companies like AAR, Altec, Cirrus, IKONICS, IPS Cranes, SCS Interiors, BendTec, Sappi and USG.

“This experience was eye-opening for many students,” said Jim Bianchi, the Tech Instructor at Superior High School. “It helped students understand the practical applications of skills they’re learning in class, including measuring, using CAD programs and CNC machine operation. They got a first-hand look at the importance of what they are being taught and how it is being used in the real world.”
In addition to proactive strategies to attract future manufacturing workers, APEX helps companies find and win state grants for incumbent worker training. When employees have access to advanced training, they can improve skills and earn promotions. When a floor level employee moves up in a company, it creates a job opportunity for younger and less experienced workers.

For more information on AMFA, contact APEX Senior Business Developer, Ian Vincent.

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