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Everett, WA – October 27, 2017. Matt Poischbeg, Vice President and General Manager of SEA-LECT Plastics Corporation, will participate in a roundtable discussion at this year’s Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative on November 1st in Seattle. The workshop is part of the Chairman's Initiative of South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard, who chairs the Western Governors’ Association. The initiative seeks to utilize the region’s best thinkers to bridge the growing gap between prospective workers and employers in the West by creating enhanced career opportunities for students, graduates, and displaced workers.

Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week in Snohomish County on November 1st at the WATR Center in Everett, Washington!

National Apprenticeship Week will bring together two dozen local apprenticeship and educational organizations to showcase their trade and answer any questions you may have about registered apprenticeship. 

The celebration includes a panel discussion featuring employers, apprentices and industry representatives to discuss why apprenticeship is not only a viable career option but how you can become Snohomish County’s next apprentice. 

Matt, born and raised in Germany, witnessed first-hand the benefits of apprenticeship programs in that country. His passion for them continues in the United States: “At a time when young people and their parents are more cognizant than ever of the rising cost of higher education, apprenticeship education offers the opportunity to get paid to gain in-demand skills with college credit.”

The Importance of Apprenticeships

Having partnered with the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC) to fill his company’s needs for skilled mold makers, Matt now serves on its advisory board. AJAC has developed innovative programs to train and educate a highly skilled workforce. And since getting a skilled manufacturing worker--which includes tool-and-die makers, machinists, and mold makers—can take several years, Matt believes skill training should begin in the middle schools. He also sees an opportunity for government participation:

“Policymakers should seize on this growing momentum and come together with business leaders to develop a set of policies that make it easier for companies of all industries to offer registered apprenticeships. Working together, we can connect workers to good jobs, strengthen U.S. business competitiveness, and grow our economy.”

Matt’s roundtable, Innovation in Apprenticeships, will highlight developments that expand apprenticeships to new sectors, skills and population segments. This will include a look at Washington state programs such as Apprenti, which combines paid on-the-job training and education for placement in high-skill occupations, and the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee mentioned above, as well as efforts in other western states.

Apprenticeship programs were once a key ingredient in training skilled workers before fading over the last few decades. Today, they have become more important than ever. The biggest challenge that many manufacturers face is finding skilled workers to help fuel their growth and to replace retiring workers. Poischbeg agrees: “We must help retiring employees to pass on their valuable knowledge to the next generation before it is lost."