House Democrats, including Rep. Maxwell, introduce aerospace training package
December 9, 2011 · Updated 3:50 PM
House Democrats, including State Rep. Marcie Maxwell of Renton, Friday released a legislative package aimed at better training and educating aerospace workers the Boeing Company and their suppliers need right now – and in the future.
“With the labor deal now ratified to keep the 737 MAX airplane line in Washington, we want to take the next steps to ensure Washington workers can make careers at Boeing and related businesses,” said House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan (D-Covington), in a press release.
The aerospace package – three education bills and a funding provision, will be considered in House committees next week. The package was outlined in the press release.
• $1M for the Aerospace Training Student Loan Program (budget proviso)
The loan program was created to break down financial barriers for workers to receive training for aerospace jobs at training centers in Everett, Renton and Spokane. With this $1 million investment, loans will help train workers for jobs ready now, and then be paid back into the fund to keep connecting workers with jobs.
“These aerospace training centers are linking up key vacancies with people trained to do the job well,” said Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle. “Investing in the loan program will open opportunities for more workers to get trained and get to work.”
• Establish Aerospace Training Pathways in Middle and High School (House Bill 2159 by Pettigrew)
Building on the last year’s Launch Year legislation, this will encourage school districts to adopt Project Lead the Way, an innovative Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum that can combine with aerospace technical courses. Criteria would also be set to select high schools and skill centers for various STEM-related funds.
• Strengthen Teacher Math and Science Standards (House Bill 2160 by Rep. Marcie Maxwell)
More rigorous math and science standards for students entering teacher preparation programs will be set by the Professional Educator Standards Board.
“If we want our kids designing and building Boeing airplanes, we can’t wait until college to get them the skills needed,” said Maxwell, D-Renton. “Improved and integrated STEM learning is key for our students to not only prepare for jobs in the aerospace industry, but in many other industries competing on the global level.”
• Give Higher Education Credit Equivalencies (House Bill 2158, Rep. Larry Springer)
Just as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses in high school become college credit, Project Lead the Way courses would have credit equivalencies at our community, technical and four-year universities.
"Allowing high school students to receive college credit for course work in selected fields in high school will motivate them to work even harder toward a career in high demand areas like aerospace,” said Springer, D-Kirkland. They're our future workforce and we need to do everything we can to help them prepare for jobs of the future.
“These measures, along with other proposals we’ll see in January,” said Sullivan, “will go a long way toward increasing the number of home-grown employees in Washington’s aerospace industry.”