Uniform Coverage: Helping Vets Package Their Skills for the Private Sector

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As the United States draws down its involvement in foreign wars, thousands of veterans are swelling the ranks of American civilians seeking employment. As many as a third of them have skills much in demand by a resurgent manufacturing sector, but they often have trouble getting interviews. However, when the Center for Advanced Manufacturing Puget Sound (CAMPS) recently put 22 of these veterans through a three-day, 24-hour course called Military to Manufacturing—or M2M—Career Pathways, nearly three-fourths received immediate job offers.

The course teaches veterans to use common hand tools and read drawings. Students also learn about shop safety and basic concepts such as lean manufacturing. They are given a mechanical aptitude test that recommends whether an individual should be a machinist, an assembler or a support person. More significant, the veterans learn which of the skills they learned in the military are valuable to private-sector employers.

“These vets are working on the world’s most advanced equipment, whether its communications equipment or aircraft,” says Tom McLaughlin, executive director at CAMPS, a nonprofit organization that helps manufacturers find workforce solutions. “Seven of the 10 skills required for an aircraft technician are skills important on the shop floor, but they [the veterans] don’t think to put those skills on their résumés.”

A private employer might not understand, for example, that a person who has done maintenance work on military helicopters has the ability to do math calculations, handle diagnostic tests, implement quality control and do operational monitoring, says McLaughlin.

M2M, which CAMPS developed in partnership with the Washington National Guard, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs and Green River Community College, will train 460 veterans during the next year in locations across the state.

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Legacy Award

Winner: Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
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Legacy Award
Belshaw Adamatic Bakery Group
Auburn › belshaw-adamatic.com
When it’s time to make doughnuts — or loaves of bread, or sheets of rolls — it could well be a Belshaw Adamatic piece of equipment that’s turning out the baked goods. From a 120,000-square-foot plant in Auburn, Belshaw Adamatic produces the ovens, fryers, conveyors and specialty equipment like jelly injectors used by wholesale and retail bakeries.
 
The firm’s two legacy companies — Belshaw started in 1923, Adamatic in 1962 — combined forces in 2007. Italy’s Ali Group North America is the parent.
 
It it takes work to maintain a legacy. A months-long strike in 2013 damaged morale and forced a leadership change. Frank Chandler was named president and CEO of Belshaw Adamatic in September 2013. The company has since strived to mend workplace relationships while also introducing a stream of new products, such as a convection oven, the BX Eco-touch, with energy saving features and steam injection that can be programmed for precise times in baking. The company energetically describes it as “an oven that saves time, reduces errors, makes an awesome product, and is fun to use and depend on every day!”
 
So far, more than 3,000 have been installed in quick-service restaurants, bakeries, cafés and supermarkets in the United States. They are the legacy of Thomas and Walter Belshaw, former builders of marine engines, who began producing patented manual and automated doughnut-making machines in Seattle 90 years ago. They sold thousands worldwide and, today, Belshaw Adamatic is the nation’s largest maker and distributor of doughnut-making equipment.