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College signs agreement to create aerospace training center

08/26/2009

LYNNWOOD, WA — Edmonds Community College signed an agreement today with the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington to establish a statewide aerospace training center at Paine Field, 3008 100th SW, Everett.

The center will coordinate and facilitate training to help serve the approximately 650 aerospace firms in Washington state that are reliant on workers who possess manufacturing skills, and will assist in the preparation of the needed workforce as technology and materials change and improve. These firms employ 120,000 workers and the industry accounts for 7 percent of statewide employment.

Edmonds Community College will coordinate the delivery of training to serve the aerospace industry, working with Spokane Community College, Everett Community College, and other key educational partners across the state. The Aerospace Futures Alliance (AFA) will provide center oversight, help connect the center’s activities to industry and advocate for additional resources as needed to aid in its success.

“The ability to respond to the economic needs of the day and build a stronger workforce, maintaining and growing high-paying jobs, is a community college strength,” said Edmonds Community College President Jack Oharah. “What’s new with this training center is how closely and quickly we’ll be working with partners and listening to industry to teach particular procedures and skills that are needed now.”

According to the operating agreement, the AFA will work with Snohomish County to provide the facility, while the college will be responsible for supplying people, equipment, and materials. The next steps will be to refurbish the building, install computer labs and equipment, and deliver basic training. The first training could take place during late fall.

In September, a group of more than 20 leaders plan to tour a similar training center in Wichita, Kan. — the National Center for Aviation Training — to see how it connects with industry. That center was also established by a collaborative effort of leaders in government, business, and education and, to date, has received more than $49 million from federal, state, and county governments as well as private industry to support the training, research and development, facilities, and equipment.

The idea is to create a coordinated point of entry for needed training for aerospace and advanced manufacturing. This step is critical, according to a June report commissioned by Edmonds Community College and the AFA from EMTECH of Boston, which examines the state’s skills gaps and outlines how to respond to an aging workforce and address industry’s changing technical needs. It concludes that educational institutions must work with industry to anticipate the skills that will be needed and maintain up-to-date curriculum, equipment, materials, and labs.

“It’s been the highest priority for the aerospace companies across the state to have a one-stop center that will keep us competitive across the country,” said Linda Lanham, Executive Director of the AFA. “We are very excited that this is the first step to ensuring that we have a solid statewide training program.”

The establishment of the aerospace training center is the culmination of ongoing work to advocate and secure funding for support of Washington’s aerospace industry by the AFA, key elected officials, and partners in Snohomish County including Everett Community College, the Workforce Development Council, and the Economic Development Council.

“We’ve all been working together to ensure that our state has a strong workforce that is prepared to do the job that industry needs,” said Edmonds Community College Vice President for Workforce Development and Training, Jerrilee Mosier. “We look forward to collaborating with community colleges across the state.”

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Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington

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