Commerce grants $100,000 for plastics industry training program to help drive more manufacturing in Washington State

Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound (CAMPS) leads public-private effort to enhance industry-driven training for small and medium-sized businesses

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced a $100,000 Work Start grant to the not-for-profit Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound (CAMPS) to develop and coordinate an employer-driven plastics industry training program designed to bring more manufacturing to Washington State.  Up to 100 workers will be trained, with half of those targeted as new hires.

“Anchored by global leaders such as Boeing and BMW-SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, advanced composite materials science and manufacturing represent tremendous potential for Washington state across multiple industry sectors such as aerospace, energy, and  life sciences,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Maintaining a robust pipeline of highly-skilled workers needed by employers is critical to our state’s long-term economic success.”

Washington is home to more than 80 companies engaged in composites and advanced materials research and development, fabrication, production and tooling, creating an industry sector that generates and estimated $3.3 billion in annual revenue.

Commerce’s Work Start program focuses on employer-driven training solutions to support companies who operate in multiple industry track supply chains.  For advanced composite materials, these sectors include aerospace, defense, energy, transportation, marine, life science and medical devices, food processing, and more general segments such as electronics and building materials.

This grant will help CAMPS collaborate with community colleges and industry to provide targeted, cost- effective training programs through a public-private partnership.

“The Plastics Industry Training Program is an excellent example of a public – private partnership solving workforce training needs, creating new jobs, and enabling companies to compete globally,” said Tom McLaughlin, CAMPS Executive Director.

By becoming more cost-efficient, companies are more competitive to pursue re-shoring of manufacturing to the U.S. and here in Washington state,” Commerce Director Brian Bonlender said.

For example, Cashmere Molding, a CAMPS member company, worked directly with Fluke Manufacturing to recapture business previously outsourced to Chinese companies. This led to new business based on 100% complete and on-time deliveries, which also helped Cashmere win new contracts, and create about 30 new jobs over the past two years.
Training is focused on career progression, enabling a combination of on-line, class room, and structured on-the-job training.  This program will enable entry level candidates to prepare and qualify for entry level jobs and incumbents to attain stackable training to progress from entry level, to various levels of semi-skilled and skilled positions, McLaughlin explained.

CAMPS and Commerce also joined forces to launch a Military-to-Manufacturing (M2M) Career Pathways program in 2012 that provided specialized skills training in the plastics industry. The initial investment of Workforce Investment Act funds resulted in 176 job placements over two years for active duty personnel entering the civilian workforce.  CAMPS member companies stay competitive by having a local pipeline of high-skill, job-ready workers with specialized skills they need.

The US Department of Labor’s current Camo2Commerce program is similarly based on transitioning skills learned in the military to civilian jobs. Camo2Commerce is a commitment through Congress and the State of Washington to provide training and career development for service members from Joint Base Lewis McChord in partnership with Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council.



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