- The primary objective of the Plastics Industry Training Program is to develop and coordinate an industry- driven Public-Private Partnership Industry Training Program for:
- Incumbent workers to develop to higher skill levels and meet a need not currently provided by the education and training communities. (Job and wage rate growth)
- Provide entry level new hires the opportunity to obtain technician level training to enter the plastics industry. (Job creation)
The Plastics Industry in Washington State is a vital component of cross industry supply chains. These companies support aerospace, defense, transportation, energy, marine, life sciences & medical, food processing and general (all other sectors). Initially this will begin with injection molders and then can easily expand to thermo-form and extrusion companies. This sector is a critical component of the manufacturing industry requiring a wide range of skills from; entry level molder operators, to escalating skill requirements for set-up and maintenance, to highly skilled tool & die or precision machinists working on molds and robotics. The training resources for these skills are not available or are fragmented. Companies are forced to develop internal programs or recruit employees outside the area. Independently providing this training raises internal costs. By working as partners and cost sharing within the industry, education, and government. Companies and the industry can reduce costs supporting the drive to re-shore and be highly competitive to compete in the export markets.
To meet immediate needs, companies are paying in the range of $15,000 per hire to recruit and relocate skilled technicians from the mid-west. Often times, these relocated workers decide to return to their home regions as family adjustments and cost of living adjustments are difficult. At the same time, companies have incumbent workers who have expressed interest in upgrading their skills to elevate to higher skilled positions. The challenge is to find training programs fitting the industry need.
CAMPS member companies have proposed a collaborative program to blend community college training with SOJT (Structured On-the-Job Training) programs to address these issues. It will take time for the education community to develop and attain approval for new curriculum and set up acceptable training programs. CAMPS has commenced the discussions for a Plastic Industry Training Program partnership beginning with a SOJT approach to address incumbent worker needs, then moves toward certificate or associate degrees, this program has a high chance of success and growth.
Candidates for the program will come from three primary sources, but is not limited to these mentioned:
- Incumbent workers –Incumbent workers that have demonstrated the soft skills to be good employees and worthy of company investment. These employees have the abilities and motivation, but not the opportunity for higher level training.
- High School graduates – High schools report that approximately 60% of graduating students attend college. The remaining 40% quite often times don’t have the economic means, motivation, or awareness of clearly defined career pathways. CAMPS will support and lead the recruitment of graduating seniors showing clearly defined career pathways to highly skilled positions in a relatively short time. Career pathways can be charted from entry level, to semi-skilled levels, to highly skilled positions. CAMPS member companies are already working with high schools through FIRST Robotics and Educate the Educator Programs.
- Transitioning Military and Veterans – Most plastics companies are small or medium size entities. They require a well-organized team of specialists who work together and do so with a sense of urgency. Both organizations understand 24 hour operations and matching of various levels of skills to complete the process. CAMPS will leverage the M2M (Military to Manufacturing) Career Pathways Program to recruit candidate’s familiar with 24 hour operations, understand urgency, and in many instances, have GI Bill benefits to qualify for higher level community and technical college Plastic Industry Training Program.
The first part of the program will include On-line, Community College selected courses, and company sponsored SOJT
Plastic Technician Training – Operators Routsis Training Programs
Introduction to Injection Molding – Online Course
This course provides participants with a general introduction to the plastics industry. The primary focus of this training program is the day-to-day operations of a typical injection molding facility.
Injection Molding Basics – 3 Online Courses
Our Basics series provides participants with a general understanding of the three major aspects of injection molding; the injection molding machine, the molding process, and the injection mold. These programs use 3D animation to demonstrate the inner workings of the machine, process, and mold and to easily convey otherwise complex concepts. Important safety precautions are stressed throughout these training programs.
Understanding Plastics – 1 Online Course
This program explains how and why plastics are different and cites several different types of polymers and processing considerations. Understanding Plastics emphasizes material handling, explains regrind, and covers the effects that moisture can have on molded part properties during processing.
Plastic Technician Training Apprenticeship – In development with AJAC (Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee)
- Process Technicians and Set-up
- Plastic Technician Training – Maintenance
- Tool and Die Apprenticeship Program
Certifications and Degrees
Education and Training Organizations currently provide courses in machining, maintenance, quality control, LEAN, CAD (Computer Aided Design), CNC Programming, welding, Technical Drawing and Print Reading, among other specialized areas. CAMPS members include: Edmonds Community College, Everett Community College, Lake Washington Technical College, South Seattle Community College, Clover Park Technical College, and Bates Technical College.