KENT, WA — Kent, Washington has a new home for advanced manufacturing. The Advanced Manufacturing Prep (AMP) Training Center was unveiled during a grand opening on Dec. 6 in partnership with the city of Kent and Port of Seattle.
The 3,000-square-foot training center offers a suite of advanced manufacturing programs geared towards local employers and job seekers alike. This is the first training center the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) has operated to meet the needs of an industry with a growing skills gap and shortage of middle skilled workers.
"We're really here to provide the training for employers and for employers to talk to us and tell us what they need," said Demetria "Lynn" Strickland, Executive Director of AJAC. The six programs AJAC will include orientation and screening for job seekers, pre-apprenticeship for advanced manufacturing, entry-level and advanced apprenticeships for incumbent workers, short-term training for local employers and master mentorship courses to skill-up our current mentors on the shop floor.
"Kent's manufacturing and industrial economy is bustling, but employers are struggling to find qualified and skilled employees," said Ben Wolters, Economic Development Director for the city of Kent. "Having AJAC open up a training facility convenient to both Kent's diverse group of advanced manufacturers and its growing population of job seekers will help ensure Kent's manufacturers continue to thrive and our residents continue to see new career opportunities."
Equipment students will learn on includes a computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) HAAS VF2, manual knee mills, step shear and box and pan brake, three wire feed welding units, prusa four-color 3D printer, inspection tools, and a full-service classroom.
Through the Port of Seattle's Economic Development Partnership Program, the city of Kent allocated funds as an investment for job creation.
"The Port of Seattle is a proud sponsor of the Advanced Manufacturing Prep Training Center in Kent," said Commissioner Stephanie Bowman. "Projects like this are exactly what we had in mind when we created our Economic Development Grants, so that we can partner with cities like Kent in order to bring jobs and economic growth to our region."
Manufacturing jobs continue to grow, with over 31,000 added in November 2017. The problem many employers face is vacant positions due to unqualified workers. Vocational facilities can truly make an impact on local communities to create sustainable jobs, higher wages and low unemployment rates regionally.