Gorge Works is celebrating National Manufacturing Day, with business tours and other events Thursday, Oct. 5, and Friday, Oct. 6, designed to let people know about the job and training opportunities available in the Columbia Gorge.
Gorge Works, a regional workforce initiative, will be offering internships and other paid work experiences at area businesses starting in summer 2018. Any high school graduate (or equivalent) over 18 is eligible to apply.
“We’ve heard from many businesses in the Gorge that they need new strategies to recruit skilled workers to their businesses,” said Kathy Ursprung of the Port of The Dalles.
Manufacturing Day tours will spotlight some of the opportunities for well-paying jobs in the trades and manufacturing. Call the Port of The Dalles before Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 541-298-4148 to sign up for tours. Students and adults are all welcome.
Thursday, Oct. 5:
10 a.m. – Innovative Composites Engineering, White Salmon (Anyone touring must prove US Person status by providing a passport, birth certificate or green card.)
Friday, Oct. 6 (Manufacturing Day):
10 a.m. – Columbia Gorge Community College EM-Tech (electro-mechanical technology), The Dalles
11 a.m. – Griffith Motors service or sales operations
1 p.m. – Oregon Cherry Growers Port operation
2:30 – Mid-Columbia Producers grain elevators
Both Thursday and Friday, Worksource Oregon will be offering drop-in services including resume review and help with job interviewing skills. If you also sign up with Worksource, you can also find out if you are eligible for additional employment support services. Drop-in services will be offered Thursday at the Hood River affiliate office at Columbia Gorge Community College and Friday at The Dalles office, both from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Port is working with Columbia Gorge Community College and other local organizations to organize the first year of the region-wide Gorge Works Program.
“The interest is there,” said Dan Spatz, manager of marketing and outreach for the college. “We have very good businesses interested in this program. We’re starting on a small scale and will grow from there.”
Organizers are working with a steering committee of some of the Gorge’s largest businesses, including Insitu, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Innovative Composites Engineering, Cloud Cap/UTC Technology, Oregon Cherry Growers, SDS Lumber, Mid-Columbia Producers, Custom Interface Inc., and Mid-Columbia Fire and Rescue.
“They are recruiting for jobs in a category we’re calling entry-level technician. In many cases, the skills required for these jobs can be obtained with training in high school or community college, trade school, an apprenticeship, or even on the job,” Ursprung said.
Not only can these skills be obtained locally, they can lead to family-wage jobs here in the Columbia Gorge, in a wide range of business sectors.
“We are hoping Manufacturing Day tours will build awareness of these great local opportunities — and the opportunities to try some of these jobs on for size through a Gorge Works work experience,” Ursprung said.
Gorge Works is open to high school graduates or equivalent and anyone interested in better job opportunities.