City of Tucson Launches Partnership to Boost Industrial Sewing Workforce

The City of Tucson approved an agreement with Moonshot at NACET, an entrepreneur development program, to launch a workforce accelerator program in industrial sewn goods manufacturing. 

The program will launch this month and aims to train approximately 100 people seeking employment in this growing industry sector.

Moonshot, together with Tucson-based Sonoran Stitch Factory, will conduct the training program which features six-week and 12-week courses in industrial sewing, digital pattern making, 3D modeling, and entrepreneurship. There will also be advanced level training for sewing machine technicians and logistics and fulfillment.

According to Barbra Coffee, the city’s director of economic initiatives, this program is a response to an immediate need in the community.

“It is wonderful when we have the opportunity to assist a local company with training and hiring that helps them scale and grow their business in Tucson,” said Coffee. “This program not only addresses a skills gap for Sonoran Stitch Factory, but also benefits all sewn goods manufacturing operations in our region as graduates of the program will be eligible for hiring from other local employers seeking similar talent.”

Careers in industrial sewing are expected to offer graduates of the program starting wages of $15 an hour, with annual earning potential as high as $75,000 to $100,000 as training is extended. Scott Hathcock, CEO of Moonshot, explained that trainees may also choose an entrepreneurial track to explore their own business formation.

“This gives students the possibility of unlimited earning potential,” said Hathcock. “Graduates of our workforce accelerator may see themselves working for a company or perhaps starting their own company, which is a powerful choice to be able to make.”

The partnership also creates a unique collaboration with the Pascua Yaqui Tribe which will assist with funding and sourcing candidates for the eight cohorts of training organized by Moonshot. The emphasis on creating employment pathways for tribal members who were impacted heavily by the recent pandemic is another win for the community.

A majority of the training will be conducted at Sonoran Stitch Factory which sits in the heart of Thrive in the 05, a focus area of revitalization for the City of Tucson in the 85705 ZIP code. Community members will have a chance to participate in clothing and fabric donation drives as training providers desire to use material that would otherwise be discarded and headed for the landfill.

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