Product & Manufacturing Academy Graduates Inaugural Class
The Production & Manufacturing Academy graduated the inaugural class of 20 students in August.
From the Wagstaff website:
“The Production and Manufacturing Academy was founded this year to provide an avenue for young
people to gain exposure to careers in the trades within the Spokane area. Lead by Wagstaff, Inc., Greater Spokane, Inc., East Valley School District, and the Spokane Workforce Council, a group of manufacturing and education entities joined forces to actively address the ongoing shortage of skilled workers in the trades. Wade Larson, Director of Human Resources at Wagstaff emphasizes the importance of exposure to skilled trades, “There are numerous opportunities in the trades for good paying jobs that can provide steady employment that don’t require a 4‐year degree.”
The manufacturing and education community of Spokane Valley pulled together to produce a program that allowed high school juniors and seniors to experience what a trades career could provide in the way of creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and reward. Over the course of the program, participating students were introduced to conceptual product design while working alongside design engineers. The students’ designs were then prototyped using 3‐D printing during an additive manufacturing session at local technology company, Quest Integration. To accomplish the output requirements set forth at the beginning of the program, students were broken into groups, which were then introduced to production
scheduling, material supply chain, and quality control. Finally, the students learned how to market and sell their products to potential customers.
The products completed by the apprentices included a mobile music amplifier, cutting boards, corn hole game boards, and bird houses. The students sold their finished products at the sponsor companies’ facilities and at East Valley High School. With only 36 hours’ notice, students were given the assignment to sell their products in only 2 hours of operation time. The teams sold their inventory and raised $1,540 in revenue in those 2 hours.
The Production and Manufacturing Academy is planning a similar program in 2020. The Academy and its supporters are champions of organic growth in trades education and workforce development in the Spokane Area. Their goal is to continue to provide opportunities for young people to explore these fields.”