Boeing and Mesa Community College team up for electrical wiring boot camp

Electrical poles are so common that you probably have to actively look for them, but electrical wiring is representative of growth in burgeoning areas of development and highlights not only population change but promising workforce opportunities for handy electricians.

That latter point is evidenced by a new collaboration between Mesa Community College (MCC) and national engineering leader Boeing. In an accelerated two-week, three-credit hour college course held at MCC, the cable harness wiring boot camp opens up the opportunity to identify and train future electrical cable harness employees looking for work in the state.

Registration for the summer program, which kicks off on June 3 and starts up every two weeks until August 1, is open now and includes an industry certification exam that will give those who complete it and the course a boost in searching for work in the industry.

“This is an amazing opportunity for individuals to embark on a career path as well as an education pathway,” said Leah Palmer, executive director of the Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI) located at MCC. “Clear back five years ago, we were trying to address the fact that workforce itself was a changing dynamic, in an aging workforce, and you have skills deficit in technologies. The actual design of workflow is taking on a technology bent that requires upskilling.”

Learning about electric cable wire harnessing isn’t just about putting up poles or assembling them to lay in the ground. The industry has expanded into emerging markets in recent years, such as the automotive industry, which has seen a surge in its need for electrical workers to help assemble parts for electric and autonomous vehicles.

The demand for electrical wiring harnesses and cable assembly is exceeding the capacity of electronics solutions providers, such as Boeing. This can definitely be seen in parts of the country that are home to skyrocketing population growth and tech communities, such as Silicon Valley, Austin, and the Greater Phoenix and Tucson areas.

“We worked closely with MCC staff and faculty to develop the pre-assessment and course curriculum to ensure individuals receive real-world training to acquire the industry skills needed,” Vonda Davis, Electrical Fabrication Director for The Boeing Company said. “I had a vision to coordinate with a community college and come up with curriculum and generate this course so they can learn how to build harnesses in a hands-on way.”

Completion of the certification doesn’t necessarily mean a guaranteed job for students, but the experience will go a long way when looking for similar jobs in the growing region.

“I wanted to get an understanding of how to wire harnesses, but also learn about new connectors I haven’t worked with. I hadn’t worked on a small scale like what Boeing has,” said Craig Sebring, an electrical professional who just finished the first round of the program. “Now I see jobs opening up for people with this kind of certification. This is especially great for people who come out of the military looking for work who may not have college experience.”

Students earning the wiring harness certification will be reimbursed the full tuition of $255 with an out-of-pocket investment of only $15.

The MCC Wiring Harness Boot Camps start every two weeks from June 3 through Aug. 1, 2019. Morning sessions are from 7-11:30 a.m. and afternoon sessions run from 3 to 7:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday at the MCC Southern and Dobson Campus, 1833 W. Southern Ave., Mesa, Arizona 85202.

Nick Esquer

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