With nearly 100,000 jobs and a payroll of $10.1 billion, advanced manufacturing accounts for 8 percent of the Portland-Southwest Washington region’s private sector employment and 11 percent of payroll. Advanced manufacturing is a high-growth, high-demand and high-paying sector across the region.
Nearly half of the region’s advanced manufacturing workforce is 45 years or older. As workers retire, companies will need to accelerate hiring to meet demand. To help with this, Workforce Southwest Washington (WSW) and the Southwest Washington High Tech Council (HTC) organized a hiring event.
HTC was founded in 2001 by leading technology businesses to support high tech industries across Southwest Washington. HTC’s mission is to ensure the economic well-being and high quality of life of Southwest Washington citizens by supporting public policies and initiatives that promote an environment conducive to high technology development and growth. The partnership between WSW and HTC drives towards both organizations’ goals to meet workforce demands within the manufacturing sector.
The High Tech Manufacturing Hiring Event took place on October 13 at the Clark College Columbia Tech Center campus with participating organizations including Analog Devices, ControlTek, Columbia Machine, Kyocera, nLight, Shin Etsu, Silicon Forest Electronics, Thompson Metal Fab, Underwriter Laboratories, Clark College, Wafertech, WorkSource and I.F. Robotics.
“Employers, everywhere and in all industries, are doing everything they can think of to get in front of people and be more flexible with their way of engaging with the general public and with recruitment,” Joyner said. “Connecting with people in person instead of on a screen makes a huge difference.”
At the event, job seekers gained information about companies and their job openings, and some participated in pre-screening interviews with employers. Businesses in attendance had more than 70 job openings to fill.
“The employers were impressed with the caliber of candidates that attended and showed interest. They said that these people were laser focused and that the conversations were amazing,” Joyner said of the event.
I.F. Robotics is a competitive robotics team of young adults located in West Vancouver. The team reached out to WSW to attend the High Tech Manufacturing event after learning about the opportunity through Vancouver Public Schools. I.F. Robotics performed demonstrations with their robots throughout the event. The team represents the emerging workforce in high-tech manufacturing, eager to learn and network with local businesses and potential future employers.
In collaboration with manufacturing companies, WSW strives to build a labor pipeline by attracting young people, finding work-ready candidates and strengthening the manufacturing community per the regional Manufacturing Workforce Plan.
As we continued to celebrate October as Manufacturing Month, Alyssa Joyner hosted Manufacturing Day for teachers in Cowlitz County to tour local manufacturing businesses. The group of teachers from Wahkiakum and Cowlitz counties toured NORPAC, guided by WSW board member Corey Giles. This event allows educators to learn about potential career opportunities for students and skills students need to learn to obtain jobs in this sector.
Advanced Manufacturing businesses interested in how WSW can support your business should contact Alyssa Joyner, Senior Project Manager – Manufacturing, at email@example.com or 360.567.1076.
Job seekers interested in exploring new career opportunities or learning new skills should contact WorkSource at 360.735.5000 for Clark County residents or 360.577.2250 for Cowlitz and Wahkiakum residents.