The Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center (WATR) in Everett, operated by Edmonds Community College, has added 9,000 square feet to its facility. A public ribbon cutting ceremony for the expanded center will be 3 p.m., Thurs., June 28 at 3008 100th St. SW, Paine Field.
“The expansion allows us to provide more opportunities for hands-on training in our labs for current programs and add classroom space for new industry-driven, in-demand trainings,” said WATR director Larry Cluphf.
The WATR Center opened in June 2010 with a vision to offer short-term training for current and future aviation workers. Edmonds Community College renovated half of a 30,000-square-foot building at Paine Field Airport leased by Snohomish County to the Aerospace Futures Alliance. The renovated area is used for classrooms and training labs. To assist in WATR’s efforts, The Boeing Company donated $2.5 million in tools, equipment, and materials.
Since it opened, 793 students have completed programs at WATR. Of the center’s graduates, 75 percent of those who have obtained job interviews are now working.
Certificate of Completion programs at the WATR center include: Aerospace Manufacturing Core Skills Aerospace, Aerospace Manufacturing Assembly Mechanic, Aerospace Electrical Assembly Mechanic, Aerospace Manufacturing Quality Assurance, and Composite Manufacturing and Repair.
WATR’s mission is to provide in-demand trainings that meet the needs of the aerospace industry. By increasing the classroom and lab space, WATR will enhance its ability to collaborate with industry to provide relevant training in a timely manner.
Based on current and projected manufacturing growth across the Northwest region, Edmonds CC has been developing a toolmaker certificate program in conjunction with the Boeing Company to be offered at WATR. The certificate was first offered this month.
The aerospace industry is predicting a growing need for qualified toolmakers over the next few years as production programs grow and current employees retire. Toolmakers are an integral part the industry’s production process. They perform a wide range of tasks from preventive maintenance of tools, setting up the production line, taking precision measurements, and working on small tool fabrication and repair. Students will learn and practice the fundamental elements of these processes.
Similar to all WATR certificates, this training is relevant to Boeing and designed to address the needs of aerospace suppliers in Washington state.
“This is a perfect example of how education and companies can collaborate to meet the needs of the aerospace industry,” said Cluphf. “The toolmaker certificate will give graduates the entry level skills and knowledge needed to compete for this important and rewarding career path.”
Students interested in aviation training at the WATR Center are eligible for financial assistance. These options include low-interest loans from the Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Aerospace Loan Program, GI Bill benefits, and GET and Sallie Mae loans. The programs provide up to $4,800 for the 12 weeks of training for students with financial need.
Established in 2009 in partnership with the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington, the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, 2008 100th St. SW, Everett, aims to provide industry-focused, flexible training for the state’s 650 aerospace firms. It is operated by Edmonds Community College.