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Boeing grant will help to 'continue the growth of aerospace' in Wichita

A Cox Machine employee works on an aircraft part at the company's plant in northwest Wichita. Cox is one of five companies participating in a Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas on-the-job training program for entry level workers and existing employees who want to advance their skills.
A Cox Machine employee works on an aircraft part at the company's plant in northwest Wichita. Cox is one of five companies participating in a Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas on-the-job training program for entry level workers and existing employees who want to advance their skills. The Wichita Eagle

A $125,000 Boeing grant through the National Fund for Workforce Solutions is expected to help Wichita manufacturing workers and five small manufacturers.

The grant, administered by the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, is aimed at helping entry level manufacturing workers get on-the-job training as well as existing workers advance their skills, manufacturers and Workforce Alliance officials said Friday.

It also will benefit five Wichita companies — Cox Machine, GKN Aerospace, HM Dunn, TECT Aerospace and XLT Ovens — who have agreed to offer on-the-job training to new hires and additional training to existing employees.

The grant will be used to develop training programs specific to the Wichita area labor market and the partnering manufacturers, according to a Workforce Alliance news release.

Cox Machine human resources manager Cheryl Childers said the grant program will help the aircraft supplier recruit new workers. It also will help Cox with internal cross-training of its existing workforce, including in robotics.

The program will "give more flexibility to our overall workforce environment," Childers said. "It benefits everybody."

"We want to continue the growth of aerospace in the market, to train and educate local individuals and build up their skill sets," she added.

Workforce Alliance spokeswoman Aletra Chaney-Profit said under the grant her organization can also help entry level manufacturing workers find higher-skill jobs with on-the-job training.

"Low-skilled populations can truly benefit from the opportunity to learn while they are on the job," she said.

The grant program can also help workers who have recently completed manufacturing training but are having trouble finding jobs because they lack experience, she said.

Wichita is one of three cities so far that will participate in the grant program. The others are Chicago and Philadelphia. Two other cities will be selected in 2019.

For more information, contact the Wichita Workforce Center at 316-771-6800.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark
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