Dedication to Training and Employing Youth

Alvin Elbert is a long-time WWP board member who is an inspiration to this organization, his employees, his colleagues, and the community. Alvin has owned A.R.E. Manufacturing, Inc. in Newberg since 1980 and has been dedicated to training and employing youth from the beginning. He is the winner of many awards for his business acumen and community focus.

His dedication springs from a negative experience in his first job. He was a self-described shy, recent high school graduate hired by a machine shop. According to Alvin, he was “fired in the first 30 minutes on the job.” He said he had no training, no coaching, and no support. This experience did not deter him. In fact, he went on to graduate from the Oregon Institute of Technology with a degree in Industrial Machining, and from there founded A.R.E. The rest is history.

Today, A.R.E employs 45 people including 14 full-time and part-time youth between the ages of 16 and 21. A.R.E’s full-time trainer works intensively with these youth and, while they learn how to work the machines, the emphasis is on learning how to follow A.R.E’s process. They work in cells of three to four employees and, in addition to the instruction received from the trainer, Alvin states…”A.R.E.’s quality manager keeps an eye on them.”

Alvin is committed to employing these youth until they graduate from college unless they decide to have a career in machining, in which case, he hires them for the long term. In 2008, Alvin realized the pool of experienced machinists was limited and A.R.E. needed a new approach to finding talent. This prompted a shift to hiring and training entry-level positions – in other words, they grew their own. For a time Alvin says they worked with the community college, but he believes introducing “college-age youth to manufacturing is too late…youth need to be introduced sooner.”

Founding Tiger Manufacturing

Following his belief that exposing youth to machining and manufacturing while in high school, Alvin and A.R.E. have worked with Newberg High School (NHS) for many years. In fact, 36 years ago, A.R.E. recruited its first summer intern from the NHS Machine Shop program. That employee still works at A.R.E. and is now the shop foreman.

Five years ago, Alvin founded Tiger Manufacturing in collaboration with NHS. Tiger Manufacturing is a student-run machine shop, fully functioning at Newberg High School. The students machine real parts, for real customers for real paychecks. Students are educated while they efficiently and effectively manufacture high-quality machined components.

Tiger Manufacturing provides a unique, hands-on educational experience that prepares students for life after high school. It is student-driven from the ground up. Students receive customer orders, procure tools and material, manufacture parts, send invoices, and report payroll, among other tasks. Students receive both class credit and payment at minimum wage for work completed.

Alvin has volunteered countless hours and donated vital manufacturing equipment to Tiger Manufacturing. He is particularly excited that “students have an opportunity to experience a real job, in a real machine shop.” Something that was not available to him when he was in high school.
Join WWP in congratulating Alvin for his dedication to training and employing youth!
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