Airliner parts supplier Orion expanding job horizons for those who've struggled

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by GLENN FARLEY/ KING 5 aviation specialist

NWCN.com

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 7:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 25 at 7:19 PM

AUBURN, Wash. - Right next to the Auburn airport is a new factory with 86,000 feet of manufacturing space.  It's replacing its older facility in Federal Way that's 35,000 square feet.  And that expansion means more and better opportunities for the people that Orion helps.

What is Orion? It makes parts for airliners, parts ranging from simple brackets and clips and more sophisticated assemblies that handle fuel and hydraulics.  The quality of Orion's parts has consistently won the company awards as one of Boeing's top suppliers.

But what many people don't know is it's also a non-profit company. Orion is a "social enterprise" that provides training for people with barriers to employment. It's been performing that role since the 1950s.

Last year, Orion trained around 300 people, including people with severe disabilities to former substance abusers.

Others who have suffered long periods of unemployment can upgrade their skills at Orion to land better jobs.  About 60 percent of those who pass through Orion's program compete for and land permanent jobs at other companies. 

Orion says 85 percent of those workers will still be in those jobs a year after being hired.
 

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