Recognized as one of Manitoba's Top Employers (2019):
By Richard Yerema and Kristina Leung, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Nov 27, 2018)
Here are some of the reasons why Boeing Canada Operations Ltd. was selected as one of Manitoba's Top Employers (2019):
- Boeing Canada encourages employees to take care of their physical and mental health through a number of in-house wellness initiatives, including a Health, Safety and Wellness Expo, annual health assessments, and the "Boeing on the Move" program, a 6-week physical activity challenge with incentives for employees
- Boeing Canada supports long-term savings through defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans, varying by employee group
- Boeing Canada invests in the ongoing education of employees with generous tuition subsidies for courses taken at outside institutions, both related and indirectly related to their position, as well as a number of in-house training initiatives
Recognized as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Jan 17, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Boeing Canada Operations Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Top Employers for Young People (2019):
- Boeing Canada helps develop tomorrow's talent by partnering with Tec Voc High School and the University of Manitoba's engineering program to provide mentorship opportunities to students on a regular basis
- Through the 2-year self-nominated program Leadership Next (LX), Boeing Canada develops the company's next generation of leaders by combining learning experiences including assessments, group coaching, peer and executive mentorship and high-impact projects to teach members how to inspire excellence in others -- the program is HR-sponsored and provides additional opportunities on top of an employee's day job
- Each year, technical staff at Boeing Canada can be considered for an Associate Technical Fellow designation or Technical Fellowship through the Technical Fellowship Program, which promotes technical excellence and innovation within the company
Pride and global opportunities inspire Boeing people
When Sijie Liu first started working at Boeing Canada Operations Ltd. in Winnipeg after completing her master's degree at the University of Manitoba, she still expected she would return to her native China. After all, she had only been in Canada for two and a half years, studying industrial engineer.ing. "But I just thought, maybe I'll apply and see what happens," she says.
What happened is, she never went back. "Boeing changed my life path," says Liu. "I enjoyed the work and I especially enjoyed working with the people here. I feel like we're a family."
Liu also loves the career track she has had, bolstered by programs and opportunities Boeing Canada offers to its new hires. Right away, she says, she was able to oversee important processes involved in the Winnipeg factory's production of complex composite parts, such as panels or engine covers, for the full range of Boeing passenger jets.
Later, she was able to switch from her position as an Industrial Engineer to her current role as a Business Operations Specialist, working on forward planning and other site-wide projects. "Boeing helped me understand my personal goals," she says. "I found I really liked working on the business side of things."
She was also accepted into the select Leadership Next program, involving two years of mentorship and learning in preparation for leadership roles, as well as travel to Boeing's global headquarters in Chicago. "So far it has been a pretty fantastic journey for me," says Liu.
New recruits can make that journey in Winnipeg, the largest centre for Boeing Canada, as well as in offices in Vancouver, Richmond, B.C., Montreal, Ottawa and other locations with a total of some 2,000 employees. The downtown Vancouver office has a major software development and data analytics group. Ottawa is a centre for sales and service teams that support Canadian military programs. And the Winnipeg factory, accounting for more than 1,600 employees, is part of Boeing Commercial Airplane's fabrication division, producing parts and assemblies that go to the aircraft company's huge final assembly sites in the Seattle area and Charleston, S.C.
Joining a company with operations in 65 countries, including 11 R&D centres around the world, means that Boeing employees can often move around internationally, says Stephanie Kimberling, Boeing Canada's Winnipeg-based Human Resources Business Partner and herself an Oklahoman who previously worked in Denver. "Across the enterprise we offer so many opportunities to build a career in almost any area you would be interested in," she says. "So if you want to go somewhere else in the world, you have opportunities to do that - not just in Canada but worldwide."
In Winnipeg, Boeing works closely with local colleges and technical schools as well as the University of Manitoba to bring in student talent. Kimberling notes that the fundamental requirement for factory jobs is Grade 12 or equivalent. "Then we have you go through training, and that's really what opens the door," she says. Boeing offers tuition reimbursement to employees who take further education, enabling them to move into positions in other parts of the business.
There are also summer internships available for university students and a three-week sponsorship program for vocational high school students. Kimberling says proudly that in last summer's crop of interns, most of whom are engineering students, half were female.
Liu calls Boeing an "exciting" workplace. "Building airplanes is amazing," she says. "What I do is exciting because we are making a contribution to the world. It's important to have pride in what you do."
Kimberling says that feeling is a key point for Boeing people. "We brought a 787 to Winnipeg's airport so employees could see the plane they were helping to build," she recalls. "We had employees with tears in their eyes, just so full of pride at being able to work here."
Recognized as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
By Kristina Leung and Richard Yerema, Mediacorp Canada Inc. staff editors (Feb 28, 2019)
Here are some of the reasons why Boeing Canada Operations Ltd. was selected as one of Canada's Best Diversity Employers (2019):
- Boeing Canada's Winnipeg location works with Connecting Aboriginals to Manufacturing and the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development to provide Aboriginal youth employment opportunities
- In addition to organizing week-long diversity celebrations in Canada, the organization's parent company, The Boeing Company, maintains a global diversity department and intranet and also hosts a 3-day global diversity summit, open to employees from around the world
People from all over fly higher at Boeing Canada
On his first plane flight, from his hometown of Owerri in Nigeria to big-city Lagos, a teenage Sixtus Ekezie asked his mother about a new word he saw - Boeing - and she explained their aircraft. Much later, Ekezie found himself nearing completion of his master's degree in mechanical engineering at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. A friend told him he should look at a prime local employer: Boeing Canada Operations Ltd.
"Most of the planes in Nigeria are from Boeing," Ekezie says, "but I had no idea they had a manufacturing operation in Canada. I thought it was only in the U.S. "So he applied, and was hired as a plastics technician while still finishing his degree. But that was just the beginning of a very high-flying story.
Only a month after he started in January 2018, his manager suggested he apply for Boeing's management development program. That involved - no small process for a newcomer to Boeing and a newcomer to Canada - a series of interviews and then a full-out presentation to senior leaders offering his solution to a challenge in the business. And sure enough, he aced that, too.
So 11 months after he started, about three years after he left Nigeria, and only a month after he completed his master's, Ekezie became Processing Centre Manufacturing Manager, overseeing how parts move through various production areas in his section before they are finally sent out to Boeing plants in the U.S. "I make sure everybody knows what to do and when to do it," he says. The 18-month management program was still to come, beginning inJanuary 2019.
"It's been an amazing journey," says Ekezie, possibly with understatement. "Imagine - in less than a year a plastics technician is already a manager. Boeing is a wonderful place to work."
He credits his manager for spotting his skills, but he says he received broad support from the company throughout the year. "I felt so welcomed at Boeing," he says. "It's very multicultural here, and everyone is equal, everyone is treated the same way."
Stephanie Kimberling, Boeing's Winnipeg-based Human Resources Business Partner, says the company is committed to supporting diversity and inclusion across a broad spectrum of employees and candidates. There are enterprise-wide affinity groups for women, LGBT, veterans and Indigenous people, among others. There are also annual diversity conferences, where "we bring people from clear around the world to learn and grow with each other."
In Winnipeg, with its large Indigenous population, Boeing has partnered with the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resource Development, or CAHRD, to set up classes for potential Indigenous candidates. "We try to recruit people and we work with CAHRD to make sure those employees are successful," says Kimberling. "It's a wonderful program."
Boeing also has an annual Women in Leadership conference. "What's interesting about that conference is we now have several men coming to support the women, so it's been a fun journey," she says.
In redressing the former overbalance of men at Boeing, "we don't just look at engineering," says Kimberling. "We also have a large IT organization, and so we focus on STEM in general." In Winnipeg, as in other centres, Boeing works to encourage girls in high school to study STEM subjects. Nationally, it supports Engineers Canada in its "30 by 30" goal to raise the proportion of newly licensed engineers who are women to 30 per cent by 2030 from 17 per cent now.
Boeing also employs several deaf employees, as well as sign-language interpreters, and trains managers to recognize unconscious bias. "For us," says Kimberling, "supporting diversity comes in many different forms." Sixtus Ekezie would agree.