On Thursday, December 6th 2018, front-line workers from East Bay MUD, AB&I Foundry, Casa Sanchez Foods, and Martinez Refinery convened at the Alameda County Social Services building in downtown Oakland, to discuss what it’s really like to work in manufacturing. About 40 community members, including the working poor and formerly incarcerated, gathered to hear from the panel as well as experts in education & apprenticeships.

James Gardner, Panel Moderator on far left.

Panelists From Left to Right:
Mackenzie O’Brien, Plant Maintenance Mechanic at East Bay MUD
Roberto Ramirez, Cupola Supervisor at AB&I Foundry
Juliana Gallon, Procurement Specialist & Production Coordinator at Casa Sanchez Foods
Cory Todd, Instrument Technician at the Shell Martinez Refinery

Panelists introduced the audience to their company, what the company produces, and how much, the starting materials, how many people work there. They went on to describe their roles at the company, what training or skills were required, how they have grown in their career, and the next steps they want form themselves. 

Manufacturing training experts Mark Martin of the California Community Colleges and Jon Fowkes of AMTAC were in attendance to detail available manufacturing training through the community colleges, offer salary ranges for various career paths, and describe how apprenticeships can provide a debt-free path to a fulfilling, middle class career.

Attendees asked great questions such as how to obtain recertifications for skills that had fallen into disuse, whether employers require external certificates or provide in-house training, and what to do if they’re starting from scratch with the technical skills but otherwise have great people skills. 

Attendees were really enthusiastic about manufacturing and stayed well after the panel discussion concluded in order to speak directly with the panelists and learn more about manufacturing training opportunities.

AMBayArea is committed to bringing more of the community into the manufacturing talent pool by educating the public of the career opportunities that are available to them. We work with community organizations with expertise in delivering the vital services needed so that individuals struggling with barriers can succeed and grow and manufacturers who hire them have taken that risk out of the equation.

Attendees left with this resource sheet to help point them in the right direction and give them further information about careers, training, and available workforce services.

Special thanks to EASTBAY Works and the region’s Workforce Development Boards for supporting this work, and the Manufacturing Institute’s Dream it. Do it. network and BACCC for elements of the handout.