Creating the Talent Aerospace Companies Need to Take Flight in Missouri

In 2007, global aerospace and defense manufacturer Boeing launched a new partnership with St. Louis Community College to create a new pathway for individuals to receive training, and potentially a job, with Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security division.

The program is called the Boeing Pre-Employment Training program, and it recently reached a milestone. Of the 1,153 graduates since the start of the program in 2007, Boeing has hired 1,000 of them.

“This partnership certainly has a strong, long-lasting positive impact in the community where our employees work, have families, have lives and are contributing to what we do locally,” said Paisley Matthews, Vice President of Operations for Boeing Defense, Space and Security.

Boeing helps pay for the program, along with funding from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.

There are two parts to the program – five weeks of training to become an assembly mechanics and three weeks of training for composite mechanics. Those selected for the program are not charged and graduates are guaranteed an interview with Boeing.

Retirees from Boeing teach the technical skills and other things prospective employees need to know such as teamwork and communication.

St. Louis Community College Chancellor Jeff Pittman said Boeing’s Pre-Employment Training program is a model for the region, and one he plans to try to duplicate with other industries.

“It’s about as direct as you can get,” said Pittman. “The skills that we teach are directly aligned with the exact type of workers that they need on the defense and commercial side. We really can’t waste any time getting graduates placed into work. There are just too many job vacancies right now. We’re trying to do similar things with other employers and manufacturers in St. Louis City and County, but also in health care.”

Missouri understands that an educated and trained workforce is essential to success. Missouri offers traditional and non-traditional training options for workers and companies that are customized to fit their needs. Boeing’s Pre-Employment Training program is just one example.

Training programs are developing the talent pipeline at knowledge centers across the state. These centers connect talent and industry in a real-world environment that moves the industry forward.

The Center for Aerospace Manufacturing Technologies (CAMT) at Missouri S&T, for example, is a national center of excellence for the aerospace manufacturing supply chain. Its industrial consortium includes The Boeing CompanyGKN Aerospace, 3D-printing manufacturer Stratasys and other industry leaders.

These types of training programs are ensuring that companies like Boeing, and others in the aerospace and defense manufacturing industries, have the talent that they need to succeed, not just today, but far into the future.

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