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  • High school students find career inspiration on machine shop tours

    Feb 07, 2014 | Read More News
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    High school students got to see up close on Friday how people and equipment manufacture the millions of parts that make the engines, appliances, planes and machines we couldn’t live without.
    Machine shop tour
    On tours of machine shops across Pima County, they also got to imagine themselves in stable, good-paying jobs that are challenging and rewarding.

    “I really enjoy taking a piece of metal and making something pretty,” Craig Bryant, a machinist at Abrams Airborne Manufacturing Inc., told a group of Desert View High School students. “And I’ve always been able to find work.”

    More than 100 students from Desert View and Tanque Verde High School toured 13 machine shops on Friday in an effort organized by the Southern Arizona Manufacturing Partners (SAMP) and the Pima County One-Stop Career Center to introduce them to machining occupations.
    Machine shop tour
    “The trades are the backbone of this country,” said Pam Summers, human resources manager at Abrams. “We’re losing our machining trade. We’re losing trades – period. They’re retiring and no one’s coming behind them. We need to start filling the pipeline.”

    Thanks to SAMP and One-Stop, Ryan Verbout is in the pipeline. The 19-year-old graduated from Tucson High Magnet School in 2012 with four years of shop to his credit and a family of machinists to encourage him. “My grandfather worked at Hughes and then Raytheon. My grandmother worked at Raytheon.”

    One-Stop funded his internship at Abrams in June and July 2013, and Abrams hired him in August. He works part time while he attends Pima Community College, which worked with One-Stop and SAMP to revise its machining program.

    “With the internship and the education, they’ll be able to go anywhere and get an entry-level CNC machinist job,” Summers said. “We’re hoping to keep them here.”

    When Verbout finishes in December, he’ll work full time for Abrams.

    “I love it every day,” Verbout said. “Every day I’ve got something new and exciting. It makes me use my head.”

    Josue Rodriguez, a Desert View senior, is convinced.

    “I like working with machines,” he said. “This is going to be my future job.”

    For more information about One-Stop services, please visit the One-Stop website.