Gregoire announces $3 million available for aerospace training
By TRACEY COMPTON
Renton Reporter Staff writer
May 18, 2011 · Updated 10:02 AM
Chris Gregoire announced this week $3 million in Workforce Investment Act funds are now available to help nearly 500 workers learn the skills necessary for Washington's aerospace industry.
The announcement also is a boost for Renton Technical College.
Gregoire made the announcement Tuesday morning at a Boeing 737 plant in Renton.
RTC will receive $150,000 as part of the retraining package and two new certificate programs: the Aerospace Manufacturing Core Certificate and the Aerospace Assembly Mechanic Certificate. The online training will be coordinated through the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center. The hands-on skills training will be done at RTC.
“As a result of the governor’s investment, Renton Technical College will be able to offer skills training for the Aerospace Manufacturing Core Certificate and the Aerospace Assembly Mechanic Certificate,” said Steve Hanson, president of Renton Community College. “Students will use the online content and will complete their hands-on training at facilities located on the RTC campus. The governor’s allocation will provide the equipment and the instruction to get people trained and into jobs in aerospace.”
The funding is in addition to money the college received from the $17.6 million given to the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges for worker retraining in 2011 from the state.
With the new programs RTC will be able to train 15 to 20 people at a time in each program at first. It takes one month to complete the training and eventually the college hopes to implement a second shift, training 15 to 30 people a month.
“I want to make sure that Washington jobs are filled by Washington workers,” Gregoire said. “This investment is a double win for Washington state. It helps those individuals negatively impacted by the national recession receive training to move toward a stable and good-paying career. And it ensures our aerospace workers have the cutting-edge skills needed to design, build and maintain the aircraft of tomorrow – helping our 650 aerospace companies grow and create new jobs.”
The breakdown of $3 million for aerospace training programs is:
• $1.6 million will increase training opportunities, ensuring those seeking an aerospace career receive industry-specified training, including pre-screening and post-training placement services
• $1 million will buy the equipment, classroom space and program development materials to train as many as 180 students in key areas like machine maintenance, precision machining, quality assurance and inspection, and fiber optics
• $300,000 will purchase equipment for the Renton Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center and the Inland Northwest Aerospace Technology Center in Spokane to support short-term aerospace manufacturing and general assembly training
• $100,000 will be used to recruit the next generation of engineers by encouraging more than 100 high school students to take part in the Washington Scholars Program. Of those that participate in the program, 77 percent choose to earn an engineering degree in college.
Gregoire was joined in her announcement by leaders in the aerospace industry.
Ray Conner, vice president and general manager for Supply Chain Management and Operations at Boeing Commercial Airplanes said the news was welcome to Boeing.
“Our shared success depends on having skilled and talented people ready to step in and build not only the world's leading jetliners, but also a future that will make us all proud," he said. "These investments will fund training opportunities and allow for better alignment between business, our community and technical colleges. Most importantly, it will energize students who want exciting, high-paying jobs that we are creating in Washington state.”
Tom Wroblewski, president of the Machinists Union District Lodge 751 was also there.
“These workforce investment dollars are the kind of public/private partnerships we need for the aerospace industry to continue to thrive in Washington state. We are excited to be a partner in this venture going forward with Boeing, the Governor, our education system, and our community,” he said.
Contact Renton Reporter Staff writer Tracey Compton at email@example.com or 425-255-3484, ext. 5052.