Lake Washington Institute of Technology (LWTech), in collaboration and partnership with the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, received a $275,000 Washington state Talent and Prosperity for All (TAP) grant to train current and future advanced manufacturing students for in-demand jobs. The partnership joins public and private resources to help promote 250 current manufacturing employees, and create training opportunities for entry-level workers to fill the resulting vacancies, with a focus on populations that face barriers to employment.
The retirement of Baby Boomers has resulted in looming middle to high-skill job vacancies, and the “Upskill-Backfill” model strategically applies workforce development resources to help advance incumbent workers into higher-skill, higher-wage positions, and then filling the openings with entry-level workers receiving training opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.
Through the program, LWTech will train 100 new CNC machine tool programmers, electronic equipment assemblers, welders, cutters, solderers, brazers, and machinists. LWTech’s manufacturing certificate programs are stackable and lead to an Associate of Applied Science degree, which includes a transfer option to at least one four-year degree.
In addition, 250 current manufacturing employees will be trained for career advancement, including Lean Six Sigma, project management and other skills identified by industry partners. LWTech and Everett Community College’s Corporate Continuing Education Center (CCEC) will offer classes on the Kirkland campus of LWTech, and will work with partner organizations to identify populations to train and provide placement opportunities for students.
Through “Project Connect: Accelerated Careers in Manufacturing,” a network of employers from leading manufacturing companies, including Astronics, Terex, andSpectralux, will work with community partners Seattle Goodwill and Seattle Housing Authority to help facilitate career opportunities for job seekers who face barriers or come from underserved populations.
“Through the support of the TAP grant, LWTech will be able to both build on our established partnership with EvCC and the colleges’ long-term collaboration with the WDC, Seattle Goodwill, and Seattle Housing Authority,” said LWTech president, Dr. Amy Morrison Goings. “This project will not only support training for manufacturing employees in project management, but also provide a new pathway for students to enter the high-demand field of manufacturing.”
Interim CEO of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County, Dot Fallihee, comments: “As forward-thinking strategists and managers of our publically-funded and open-access workforce system, we prioritize actualizing innovative ideas like ‘upskill-backfill’ to solve the gaps in local talent as mass retirements loom. This initiative will not only open up middle to high skill jobs in our region to meet business need, but will advance individuals’ potential for workforce contribution and ensure their families’ self-sufficiency in our growing economy.”
Additional services available to eligible Project Connect students may include intensive advising support, as well as tuition, book and childcare assistance. Project Connect students will also be connected to on-campus resources, such as financial aid, disability support, TRiO and tutoring, as well as community organizations that can provide the services and support they need to be successful and overcome barriers. In addition,LWTech offers advising support for special populations on campus, such as WorkFirst,Basic Food, Employment, and Training (BFET), Worker Retraining, and theEmployment Resource Center (ERC).