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  • Students will 'speed interview' for jobs at One-Stop event

    Mar 10, 2015 | Read More News
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    Thirteen high school graduates will work full time this summer with machinists at 14 local manufacturing companies in paid internships designed to lead to community college classes, certification and good-paying jobs by 2017.

    Job interviewsStudents from Tucson High Magnet School and Desert View High School will interview with the manufacturers from 8 a.m. to noon Thursday, March 12, at Pima Community College’s Amethyst Room, 1255 N. Stone Ave.

    “It’s set up like speed dating, but it’s speed interviewing,” explained Gerri Brunson, workforce development specialist for Pima County One-Stop Career Center, which directs the program. “Every 15 minutes, students will talk with a different Southern Arizona Manufacturing Partner (SAMP) employer.”

    This is the third cohort of young people to enter the 20-month pilot program created by One-Stop and an unprecedented partnership of more than 30 local manufacturers who anticipated a critical shortage of precision machinists. The students receive their initial training through the Career Technical Education machining programs at Desert View High School and Tucson High Magnet School. From there, students work with local manufacturers at paid internships that are initially funded by Pima County One-Stop. After two months of hands-on experience, local companies hire the students, who also enroll in corresponding courses in machine tool technology at Pima Community College.

    All but one of the 13 students interviewing March 12 went through the Pima County Joint Technical Education District (JTED), a public high school district that offers tuition-free Career and Technical Education programs to sophomore, junior and senior level students, as well as students who are under 22 years of age.

    More than 20,000 students are currently enrolled in Pima County JTED/CTE programs throughout the county, Rio Rico and San Manuel. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposed budget will end approximately 50 programs that have increased high school graduation rates by 24 percent and standardized test scores by 30 percent, according to independent research conducted by Harvard University and the Morrison Institute at Arizona State University.

    One-Stop and SAMP have worked with Pima Community College and two local high schools  to redesign curriculum to close a skill gap and to convince young people and their parents that machining and other trades are lucrative and satisfying career choices, not dirty, dead-end jobs.

    One-Stop funds will pay the students during the first 160 hours of their internship; the employers will pay them for the next 160 hours with the expectation to hire them at least part time while they work toward a certificate in Machine Shop Technology at PCC.

    The pilot program is leading to more efforts to help the students succeed and fill the skilled-employee pipeline for employers.

    Steve Richards, the director of quality for Industrial Tool, Die & Engineering, said his company has been part of the program since its inception. The students they have hired are treated just like full-time employees, he said.

    “It’s worked out very well. This program gives them a great opportunity. Not only are the students getting hands-on experience, but they’re getting the coursework in as well.”

    Richards said ITDE’s owner created a weekend-only shift at the 80-employee plant so the students’ machining work wouldn’t interfere with their studies. He’s pleased that the program is creating a pipeline of new employees to replace those who will be aging out of the workforce.

    “It’s difficult to recruit new businesses to Tucson if you don’t have machinists in place,” observed Richards. “Most of our employees are well into their 40s and will be retiring before too long. But this is a good industry with a good future.”

    The companies interviewing interns for this 2015 cohort are:
    •    Abrams Airborne Manufacturing
    •    AGM Container Controls
    •    Airtronics
    •    American Turbo Systems
    •    Anewco Products Inc.
    •    B/E Aerospace
    •    CAID Industries
    •    Dynamic Manufacturing & Engineering
    •    FLSmidth Krebs
    •    Hi-Tech Machining & Engineering
    •    Industrial Tool, Die & Engineering
    •    Johns Manville
    •    Raytheon
    •    Sargent Aerospace & Defense

    One-Stop is interested in working with more employers in this and other industry sectors to identify and address skill gaps, training needs and other workforce issues. For more information, please visit the One-Stop website or contact Gerri Brunson at 520-724-3733 or Gerri.Brunson@pima.gov.