Renton Technical College (RTC; www.rtc.edu), located just outside Seattle in Renton, Wa., is slated to receive $150,000 in funding, with which it will create two new certification programs: the Aerospace Manufacturing Core Certificate and the Aerospace Assembly Mechanic Certificate. These certification programs will be provided through a combination of online courses coordinated through the Washington Aerospace and Research Center and in-person classes at the Renton campus.
RTC’s new programs take just one month to complete, and will have the bandwidth to train 15 to 20 people at the programs’ onset. RTC officials plan to expand the program to 30 people per month as the program matures. (In fact, the RTC is currently looking to fill a vacancy for an aerospace assembly mechanic instructor: http://www.rtc.edu/AboutUs/HumanResources/CurrentOpenings/Active/110518AerospaceInstr.htm.)
“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,” explains Steve Hanson, president of Renton Technical 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 $3 million for aerospace training programs in Washington includes:
• $1.6 million to increase training opportunities, ensuring those seeking an aerospace career receive industry-specified training, including pre-screening and post-training placement services.
• $1 million to 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 to 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 to 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.
This geek is doubtless encouraged by the state governor’s dedication to advancing education/training and the aerospace community, and is hopeful that other state governments follow suit. Threats to the health of the mil/aero industry, and certainly the larger U.S. economy, extend beyond the state level, unfortunately, and require national attention (as my next blog will discuss).