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News / Business / Clark County Business

Clark, Cowlitz employers target potential workers

Manufacturers will detail opportunities for young people

By Gordon Oliver, Columbian Business Editor
Published: September 17, 2015, 6:01am

Five businesses in Clark and Cowlitz counties will open their doors to young adult visitors Oct. 5-7 as part of a local initiative aimed at educating young people about employment possibilities in the manufacturing industry.

Youth ages 16 to 24 have until Sept. 28 to register for Business After School Manufacturing Week visits to businesses. Sponsoring companies that will open their workplaces for young visitors are American Paper Converting in Woodland; Linear Technology in Camas; CID Bioscience in Camas; NORPAC/Weyerhaeuser in Longview; and Sigma Design in Vancouver.

The Business After School program gives students an opportunity to explore high-growth industries and gather information about career opportunities and skills they’ll need to obtain jobs. It also allows businesses to showcase their work and to meet potential future interns or employees.

The local workforce development council anticipates that Southwest Washington will face a shortage of manufacturing employees in the next few years as an estimated 30 to 50 percent of manufacturing workers retire. It expects other local employment sectors to also face skilled labor shortages.

The nonprofit Business After School program focuses on a different local industry each quarter. The program has previously featured engineering and health care, and its focus in December will be on technology employers. The program was founded by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council in partnership with Clark College, the Columbia River Economic Development Council, the Cowlitz Economic Development Council, the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce, the Kelso Longview Chamber of Commerce, Lower Columbia College and Washington State University.

As part of the October manufacturing showcase, young adults will be offered a company tour and participate in hands-on activities at the companies they visit. Company leaders will discuss the kinds of jobs they offer, what education and training is needed for those jobs, salary ranges and the future employment outlook.

The schedule for the events is as follows:

• Monday, Oct. 5.:

2-4 p.m.: American Paper Converting, Woodland, open to visitors age 18 to 24.

3-5 p.m.: NORPAC/Weyerhaeuser, Longview.

• Tuesday, Oct. 6

3-5 p.m.: Linear Technology, Camas

• Wednesday, Oct. 7

2-4 p.m.: CID Bioscience, Camas.

3-5 p.m.: Sigma Design, downtown Vancouver.

There is no cost to attend, but registration is required and space is limited. Youth younger than age 18 must be accompanied by an adult, with no more than 10 students per chaperone.

For information and to register, visit www.business-after-school.org/events-registration.

Columbian Business Editor