Forging futures: Students learn what airplane manufacturing is all about

Manufacturing Day aimed at "keeping the talent pipeline flowing"

October 13, 2017 in Our Commitment

About 250 Puget Sound-area high school students participated in hands-on airplane manufacturing demonstrations and heard from Boeing employees recently at the company’s factories in Everett and Renton, Wash.

The demonstrations took place Oct. 6 as part of Manufacturing Day, held annually at the factories on the first Friday of October. The Commercial Airplanes event celebrates modern manufacturing in an effort to inspire the next generation of manufacturers, organizers said.

Working with partner schools that offer manufacturing programs, the Workforce Development team, part of Commercial Airplanes Human Resources, hosted the high school freshmen and sophomores.

“This was fun experience,” said Samantha Brown, a freshman at Mariner High School in Everett. “The demonstrations were more hands-on than we normally get to do.”

Hunter Bodhaine, another freshman at Mariner High School, said he’s already interested in a career at Boeing.

“I’ve always been interested in electrical stuff,” Bodhaine said. “I’ve made battery packs for charging things, built a few computers and worked on cars. I’m really looking forward to working at Boeing someday.”

Throughout the daylong event, the Workforce Development team drove awareness of manufacturing, the advanced technologies that are driving the industry and the career opportunities available.

Marty Chamberlin, 737 vice president of manufacturing, and Duard King, 777X horizontal build leader, spoke to student groups taking part in Manufacturing Day at Boeing’s factories in Everett and Renton, Wash., about their careers. King cited the interesting twists and turns his career has taken during his 28 years at Boeing.

“I’m a perfect example of the opportunities Boeing offers its employees,” King said.

“I started as a 747 mechanic, went back to school and got my degree, transferred over to the Finance group for eight years and then came back to factory management,” he said. “I’ve gotten the chance to experience a broad spectrum of Boeing’s business over the years.”

Michelle Burreson, a senior manager with Workforce Development, said it’s important that kids know that manufacturing can offer them a solid future and a platform for other opportunities and further education. That’s a message Boeing’s Workforce Development group shares on a daily basis with middle schools, high schools, skill centers and community and technical colleges.

Company officials said Boeing’s involvement with schools is critical to narrowing the skills gap — one that continues to grow across the United States. In less than a decade, an estimated 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed nationally, according to Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute. But researchers project that 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled because there aren’t enough skilled workers.

“You never know whose life will be changed by this kind of educational opportunity,” said Dan Parker of Workforce Development. “We all have a stake in keeping our talent pipeline flowing.”

By Scott Lefeber