The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news.
Our office recently learned that GE Aviation secured $100,000 for a special workforce training project at the company's Yakima facility. The grant from the State Department of Commerce will help the company train key employees and boost productivity at the plant. "We [the Yakima plant] have changed from a mom and pop operation over the years to a sophisticated global company", notes General Electric's Human Resource manager Debbie Byrd. "This special funding will allow us to provide comprehensive training to our technical employees so they are more successful in our global manufacturing environment. Over the next six to seven months key employees at GE will learn about supply chain management, process improvement and other topics to help them refine operations at the Yakima plant.
New Vision worked closely with GE Aviation and other partners to bring this special training project to fruition. It took some time to identify the type of training that would make a difference for GE Aviation. Impact Washington, our partners who deliver tailored services to manufacturers, helped the company ultimately choose a variety of training providers that could change the culture within the Yakima facility. The State Department of Commerce also played an instrumental role by tapping federal workforce training funds to underwrite this special initiative. Yakima Valley Community College and the South Central Washington Workforce Council have also helped GE address training needs over the last year so many partners get credit for helping GE address their workforce needs.
As we worked with the company it became obvious that modern manufacturing plants are changing dramatically. Today's technical production employees have to be much more entrepreneurial than ever before. Today's worker has to be much more in touch with their customers intuitively understanding their needs now and in the future. Employees must also gain a better understanding how their job performance advances the facility's bottom line profitability. For GE Aviation, getting their employees to own their processes and results is a marked change from simply filling customer orders.
GE Aviation's operation has a huge impact on the Yakima Valley economy, so we are very pleased to see this workforce project come to fruition. Helping the company improve productivity and position itself for success in a global economy helps make sure that this facility thrives and stays in Yakima.