By Debbie Cockrell / The News Tribune
TACOMA —It’s not every day any more that The Boeing Co. builds a facility in the Puget Sound region.
On Monday, the aerospace company gave Auburn and Boeing’s Auburn site time to celebrate just that.
The Workforce Readiness Center is the Auburn site’s first new building in 25 years.
Workers and dignitaries marked the grand opening of the facility, which is dedicated “to enhancing the skills of Boeing Fabrication employees in Puget Sound and, in particular, the Auburn site’s 6,000 employees,” according to Boeing.
The two-story, 71,000-square-foot building, built at a reported cost of about $17 million, will become a hub for Boeing to teach new skills in robotics, programming and manufacturing.
The center “will help us to recruit people, develop their careers and retain employees that are critical to our long-term success,” said Kim Smith, vice president of Boeing Fabrication.
The new facility brings:
— Equipment Services training for mechanics and technicians to receive new training and obtain re-certifications.
— New and refresher courses for a range of manufacturing, engineering and office skills.
— Refresher and introductory classes for the company’s safety program.
— Training for the Boeing Production System.
The center also is the new home for Auburn’s medical clinic and will be headquarters for IAM/Boeing Joint Programs in the South Sound.
The site’s former medical clinic will be demolished and replaced with an Operations Readiness Center and a warehouse.
“Along with Boeing’s planned Operations Readiness Center, the Workforce Readiness Center maintains our community’s status as a critical hub in the supply chain,” said Julia Jordan, president and CEO of the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce.