SEATTLE — Labor shortages are an issue in almost every industry, but one aerospace manufacturing company in Seattle said employers are overlooking qualified workers.
Pioneer Industries operates two manufacturing plants in south Seattle and has many services across Washington state. What sets them apart is that 62% of their manufacturing workforce is currently made up of people who have previously been incarcerated.
Pioneer Industries encompasses many services to ensure people getting out of prison can transition back. They offer housing units, employment, and treatment facilities.
Those who have been involved in the justice system make up entry-level manufacturing positions, are supervisors and are in purchasing and distribution.
Pioneer Industries has roughly 90 manufacturing employees and they make parts for companies like Boeing and emergency hatch doors on planes.
CEO Anthony Wright said they’re successfully competing with top for-profit companies and that more employers should utilize this untapped workforce.
“Folks shy away from that population. We don’t. We see a committed workforce that works harder, smarter, and probably one of the best groups of people that I’ve worked with in my career as far as commitment is concerned," said Wright. “We want to show the world that this is a very capable workforce and it’s our mission to demonstrate to the rest of the world that if they invest their time and energy to helping this population, they will reap the benefits of serving these folks.”
Wright said they have the lowest turnover rate in their manufacturing department.
He said it’s rewarding to see the transformation as employees have families and become homebuyers because of a second chance.