Career Pathways in Manufacturing

Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative (SVMI) Career Pathways in Manufacturing

Dean Peckham, Executive Director of the Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative

Volume V/Issue 2 | Winter 2018

During the past decade, the Sacramento Region was disproportionately impacted by the last recession, with the collapse of the residential construction industry and related financial services. Economic studies identified that the region’s dependence on the government sector was creating an imbalance in the economy and related employment sectors. If the regional economy was to be sustainable, it needed to diversify to weather future economic cycles.

In April 2018, facing growing pressures to recruit and retain critical manufacturing talent, a group of 60 manufacturing CEO’s organized as the Sacramento Valley Manufacturing Initiative (SVMI) to address the need for a qualified, trained workforce, with critical support from the California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) and Valley Vision.

SVMI Train-the-Trainer Education 2018

SVMI proactively develops vocational, educational and workforce initiatives and programs leading to fulfilling manufacturing career paths for the region’s students and workforce. SVMI efforts ensure that the Sacramento area is viewed as a region of manufacturing excellence with a globally competitive manufacturing sector and a solid pipeline of skilled workers to showcase our region’s success and expansion.

SVMI education initiatives include presentations to high school manufacturing technology programs about career pathways; tours of local manufacturers by high school classes; high school and community college curriculum development to ensure that curriculum is relevant to modern manufacturing; Train-the-Trainer seminars for high school teachers; and serving on high school and community college career technical education advisory boards.

Second, SVMI has identified  critical  occupations  that  have an immediate workforce need in the region and the critical skillsets that benefit all occupations. Initial programs include the implementation of customized training programs such as computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinists and industrial maintenance mechanics (IMM).

CNC machinists are critical occupations within a wide variety of metal-working industries such as transportation and aerospace. IMM are critical middle skills occupations in the region’s food processing industry, which have a long history in the Central and Sacramento Valleys.

SVMI has partnered with Sierra College to provide contract education to manufacturers while the CA Manufacturing Technology Association (CMTA) and Employment Training Panel (ETP) provide critical training funds.

Recruiting the next generation requires ongoing collaboration with the region’s four workforce development boards (WDB’s) to educate and recruit young people, ages 18 to 24, into manufacturing career pathways. Last, the partnership with the WDB’s ensures that dislocated employees seamlessly transition to other regional employers to retain critical talent and transition some employees into new roles as community college educators.

Developing sustainable and healthy communities requires ongoing attention to workforce development, ensuring that all members of society benefit from a healthy economy. This can only occur through ongoing, sustained collaboration across diverse communities including neighborhood groups, public officials, education, workforce development, and industry partners.

For more information, please contact Dean Peckham, SVMI Executive Director, at

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