YAKIMA, Wa. -- The Association of Washington Business is touring around the state to highlight the importance of manufacturing jobs and Yakima is one of their stops.
AWB’s first stop in Yakima was Farwest Fabricators, a manufacturer in Moxee.
Farwest Fabricators Senior Estimator Brad Dockins has been working with the company for 16 years now but he says when he started off he didn’t know anything about manufacturing.
“I didn’t know anything about steel how it was cut, how it was bent any of that. Very little experience at my dad’s shop in my dad’s garage," said Dockins.
Sixteen years later, Dockins has moved up in the company and he says this career has changed his life.
“I mean this has supported my family for 20 years, this is my life," said Dockins.
AWB President Kris Johnson says manufacturers in Washington make a huge contribution to the state with wineries, furniture companies, farms, family manufacturing among others.
“We need to be doing everything we can to help them grow and expand right here. This is a sector that pulled this state’s economy through the recession during our last recession and it performed strongly and robustly," said Johnson.
Johnson says not only does manufacturing benefit the state’s economy but it can also benefit Washington families.
According to AWB, manufacturing supported more than 282,000 jobs with an average annual wage of more than $72,000 in 2017.
Johnson says a career in manufacturing can provide families a pathway to being middle class.
“These are great jobs that are in the sector right, they’re jobs that require some education some training, some use of technology along the way but you can have a great career path and a great family wage job in manufacturing,' said Johnson.
AWB will keep touring around the state honoring the thousands of employees and employers in the manufacturing business.
The Association of Washington will wrap up their tour by visiting Seattle before crossing the state to Spokane and then Traveling back to Olympia by Friday.