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U.S. Senator Patty Murray Visits South

Patty Murray Photo
Sen. Murray visits with Manufacturing Academy students at South Seattle College on Aug. 9, 2016.

August 10, 2016

United States Sen. Patty Murray visited South Seattle College's Georgetown Campus on August 9 to get a firsthand look at the college's apprenticeship and manufacturing programs, and how they are positively impacting workers' lives.

Several workforce programs, initiatives and student costs at South are supported by the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), passed in 2014 by bipartisan leadership including Sen. Murray, and she visited South to learn how that support is playing out at the local level.

"I wanted to be here today to really hear how you are now implementing (WIOA), after signing the law in 2014, because our responsibility is not just to pass a law, but to make sure it is working as we intended," Sen. Murray said during a roundtable discussion after touring the Manufacturing Academy - a partnership between South Seattle College, the Workforce Development Center of King County, City of Seattle Office of Economic Development, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee and local manufacturing and aerospace employers to connect everyone from working adults to disadvantaged youths with the skills and connections to start their advanced manufacturing careers.

One of those Manufacturing Academy students, Janice Hammerstrom, was recently nearing the end of her unemployment benefits and having trouble finding a family-supporting job, a situation made all the more dire because her husband is disabled and unable to work. She visited a local WorkSource office, learned about the academy and learned her costs would be covered by the WIOA. Janice started the program and, only halfway through, she's already started a full-time career at Exotic Metals as a quality assurance inspector. Since then, Janice has continued on in South's one-year machining certificate program, working during the week and attending class on the weekends.

"You are exactly the story that we tried to create," Sen. Murray said after Janice relayed her tale. "I think a lot of people think job training is for someone else, but job training is really for everybody today because the economy does change, our lives change, our personal experiences change, and to have programs like this available is critical for our country today."

In addition to hearing from manufacturing students, Sen. Murray also learned how WIOA and Department of Labor funding made a $4.8 million American Apprenticeship Initiative Grant possible for South's Georgetown campus. Awarded in 2015, the grant funds the public/private Partnership for Advanced Technology Apprenticeships in Manufacturing and Marine Engineering, creating and expanding adult training programs that will serve at least 1,000 workers in the state and over 300 workers from underrepresented populations. The grant will aid expansion of 12 existing programs in advanced manufacturing and create three new apprenticeship programs.

To learn more about apprenticeship and manufacturing opportunities at South Seattle College, please contact our Georgetown campus at 206-934-5350 or visit the website.