WENATCHEE — Representatives from Grant and Adams county businesses discussed jobs, workforce training and critical skills with teachers and administrators at the annual Apple STEM Summit last week in Wenatchee.
The summit was sponsored by the Apple STEM Network, which is designed to work with schools and industries in Grant and Adams counties to promote technical and vocational education. It’s a project of the North Central Education Service District.
Employability is about more than specific job skills. “Every day is an interview,” said Stela Heuschkel, from Chemi-Con Materials in Moses Lake. Employees – and prospective employees – need to think about the image they project, said Will Bowen, from SGL in Moses Lake. “First impressions can happen at any time. Be ready,” Bowen said.
Attitude, the willingness to cooperate, getting along in the workplace are called “soft skills,” and the industry representatives said they are just as important as job skills. “Take responsibility for your actions,” said Tina Livingston, from Simplot in Moses Lake. “Be a problem solver.”
The four representatives said each company has jobs, both in Grant and Adams county facilities and throughout each company’s other facilities. Each company offers training and continuing education plans, as well as competitive pay and benefit packages, panelists said. Heuschkel said employees have the potential to advance as far as they choose with continuing education opportunities.
Some have apprentice programs, including SGL; four apprentices are working at the Moses Lake facility now, Bowen said. Mentoring the apprentices has “invigorated” the whole SGL team, he said.
Chemi-Con and SGL both sponsored events at their Moses Lake facilities this year to show students some of the jobs that might be available.