Emerge Community Development will dedicate its next class of Manufacturing Foundations, an opportunity to explore education and careers in the field of manufacturing to the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Through this free nine-week class participants can gain certifications that allow them to pursue jobs and careers in manufacturing. Qualifying participants can access advanced training at Hennepin Technical College to become a CNC machine operator or welder – positions with starting wages in excess of $15 per hour.
Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development data shows that as of quarter two 2017, there were 6,871 manufacturing vacancies in the seven-county metro area. This is a 24.1 percent increase in manufacturing vacancies from the previous year. It also represents the most manufacturing vacancies reported to the Labor Market Information Office by employers since the Job Vacancy Survey began in 2001. Currently less than 15 percent of jobs in this growing sector are held by workers of color.
Emerge was selected as one of 12 organizations nationwide that the Walmart Foundation is supporting as part of its $3.9 million commitment to honor the legacy of King through projects that promote equity and opportunity.
“We are honored to be part of this historic coast-to-coast push for equity in Dr. King’s memory,” said Mike Wynne, president and CEO of Emerge. “Our mission is to reveal the potential in people and communities through skill building, employment and economic opportunity. Our next class is starting just two weeks after the 50th anniversary of the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and will bring these high value jobs to dozens of underemployed people. We would like to join the National MLK50 Symposium in honoring the work and life Dr. King by dedicating this class to his memory and his dream. Across the world, people are in committing to a year of peace and action to realize Dr. King's legacy.”
Emerge is recruiting for the MLK Memorial session of the manufacturing foundations training.
Class begins April 16. Emerge host information sessions on Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 3:30 p.m. Those interested can call (763) 251-0379.
“This is a chance for free education and a great career. With Walmart Foundation support we have the resources to really get things done, so we want every motivated person we can fit in this session,” said Colin Owen, an Emerge training recruiter.
“No matter who you are or where you are from, every individual should have access to the skills and training required to help build successful careers and lives, and we recognize there’s more work to be done to meet this urgent need,” said Julie Gehrki, vice president of the Walmart Foundation. “By supporting organizations working to remove barriers to opportunity for those who lack equal access to resources including Emerge Community Development, we’re tackling these issues head on through locally-driven approaches that transform communities, foster economic mobility and help more people reach their full potential.”
Program graduate Rannie Johnson came to EMERGE working low-paying temp jobs and overcoming a criminal background. Today he is working fulltime as a CNC Machinist at Tesla Motors. He shares that one of things that inspired him was the opportunity to create change in his community. “Not many African Americans are doing CNC Machining. I figured maybe I could be a start for us and get more African Americans in the door. It’s a great career and it is not as hard as it looks. And I have my fingerprint on every Tesla that comes out of Brooklyn Park.”
Patricia Williams just finished Manufacturing Foundations and plans to start her advanced CNC Machining classes at Hennepin Technical College shortly. She is excited as a woman of color to see more women consider manufacturing jobs. “I believe this is great career for women because we are an untapped market and they are looking forward to hiring us. You will be a professional and learn a lot of exciting things. And it is an avenue to go other placed in the field of technology.” The data backs-up Ms. Williams; of the 15% of manufacturing jobs help by people of color, just 30% are held by women of color, a huge untapped potential workforce and a great opportunity for women and for employers.