HOW DID AZ STITCH LAB GET ITS START? In January of 2021, Moonshot(TM), a 23-year-old Arizona nonprofit, teamed up with The City of Tucson Economic Development Team to help find a way to meet a local workforce need. It became apparent that the need for industrial sewers in the Tucson area was great. The City of Tucson and Moonshot approached entrepreneur Erica Yngve, owner of Sonoran Stitch Factory, about joining this collaboration. As an entrepreneur, seasoned industrial sewer, and factory owner, Erica knew first-hand just how much this program was needed in Tucson and throughout the industry.
Moonshot found funding to pilot the first two years of the program with investments from The City of Tucson and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe. Moonshot rented classroom space at Sonoran Stitch Factory, and contracted Erica Yngve to create the training program, hire trainers, and facilitate educational programs in Tucson and around the state of Arizona.
In 2022, Moonshot was awarded additional funding, thanks to the Native American Rural Business Development Grant, to set up temporary "pop up" AZ Stitch Lab locations in Winslow, Sahuarita (Tohono O'odham Tribe), and Fort Yuma (Quechan Tribe).
MISSION Moonshot's Arizona Stitch Lab mission is to bring material innovation, apparel circularity, industrial sewn goods manufacturing, and workforce development initiatives within the sewn goods sector together to benefit rural, indigenous and underserved residents across Arizona.
The AZ Stitch Lab initiative is strategically aligned with the economic development and business attraction goals for the state. This project will help underserved Arizonans and our indigenous communities to develop a reskilling and upskilling program, with key focuses on certification and career path development for machine technicians and industrial sewers, enabling them to meet the needs of employers and pursue rewarding careers.
OVERVIEW Arizona Stitch Lab is a FREE workforce development program that aims to provide industrial sewing skills and training to our community at no cost to the participant. In our 6-week Basic Industrial Sewing Skills course students will learn the following:
Industrial Machine Operations
Factory Setting Safety Protocols
Construction and Manufacturing
Careers in industrial sewing are expected to offer graduates starting wages of $15 an hour with annual earning potential as high as $75,000 to $100,000 as training is extended. Graduates may find additional job opportunities in the following fields: