Pima County data shows more than 1,500 skilled machinists will be in demand by 2020, and high school students are showing an increased interest in manufacturing jobs.
More than 100 students from Desert View High School and Tanque Verde High School recently toured factories and businesses in the aerospace industry to see firsthand what a career in that field would be.
"My favorite part was looking at the blue prints like we do in our drafting class because it kind of showed me more how my classes go into this field,” said 15-year-old Evelyn Plascencia.
About a dozen students from Desert View High School’s Joint Technical Education District put on protective goggles and walked around American Turbo Systems, where employees showed them how they repair parts that help power commercial airplanes.
“Watching the engine be tested was pretty cool, I had never seen that before,” said Desarae Stephens, a senior at Desert View.
Sunnyside Unified School District, as part of JTED, offers classes in precision manufacturing and machining.
Pima County One Stop Career Center facilitated the tours after hearing from industry representatives that there was a shortage for precision machinists.
“There are plenty of jobs in the industry, we struggle finding workers with the skill set we need,” said John Goveia, general manger of American Turbo Systems. “I saw interest in these students.”