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Twenty high school students will begin the second manufacturing and technology interactive immersion starting Monday, July 12 and wrapping up with a graduation ceremony July 30.  After spending three weeks with area manufacturers, students aim to gain an understanding of the trades and explore potential future careers.

The Production and Manufacturing Academy was founded in 2019 to provide an avenue for young people to get exposure to careers in the trades in the Spokane area.  Lead by Wagstaff, Inc., Greater Spokane, Inc., East Valley School District, and the Spokane Workforce Council, a group of manufacturing and education entities joined forces to actively address the ongoing shortage of skilled workers in the trades.

The manufacturing and education community in the Spokane Valley pulled together to produce a program that allowed high school juniors and seniors to experience how a trades career could provide job satisfaction in the way of creativity, ingenuity, resourcefulness, and rewards through this 3-week academy.  The students will be given a project in the first few days of the academy, followed by introduction to production scheduling, material supply chain, and quality.  After the product design phase, production will then take place using shop machine tools and additive manufacturing.  The final challenge will be a focused on marketing and selling the items designed and produced over the length of the course.

The first Academy was held in 2019 and immersed students with the wide-angle view of an engineering and production operation for the 20 students who graduated.  The products completed by the apprentices included a mobile music amplifier, cutting boards, and bird houses.  The students sold their finished products at the sponsor companies’ facilities and at East Valley High School.  With only 36 hours’ notice, students were given the assignment to sell their products with only 2 hours of operations.  The teams sold their inventory and raised $1,540 in revenue in 2 hours and ultimately raised $5,000.  The proceeds were donated to the school districts for use in STEM education. Three students were awarded 2-year trade education scholarships, and all of the students earned a stipend and a diploma.

The Production and Manufacturing Academy was postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, but is back in 2021 thanks to the supporters of organic growth in trades education and workforce development in the Spokane Area.   For more information on the Academy or its supporters, go to the Careers page on  For information on members of the Manufacturing Consortium, see the following websites:

Greater Spokane, Inc.

Kaiser Aluminum

Hanson Industries

Pearson Packaging

Mackay Manufacturing


Altek Industries


Historic Flight

Hawk Ridge Systems

Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce

Career Connect Washington

Spokane Workforce Council

Community Colleges of Spokane

East Valley School District

West Valley School District

Wagstaff, Inc.


Media Contact

Heather Brandt




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3910 North Flora Road
Spokane Valley, WA 99216 USA
Phone: 1(509) 922-1404
Fax: 1(509) 924-0241

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