“Air Washington” receives $20 million boost to aerospace training

Puget Sound received a major boost in its efforts to provide skilled workers to Washington state aerospace employers. “Air Washington,” a consortium of regional community and technical colleges will receive a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to train 2,600 workers over the next three years.

A skilled aerospace workforce is vital to fulfill existing jobs in the industry and attract new opportunities. Boeing alone may need over 5,000 people a year with aerospace manufacturing skills. Currently, state educational institutions graduate half that number, according to a recent article published by the Puget Sound Business Journal. Over the next 20 years, commercial airplane sales and service are estimated to generate $3.6 trillion in economic activity. More than 600 aerospace firms currently call Washington state home.

The consortium will coordinate a new program that provides training in six critical areas: advanced manufacturing/machining, aircraft assembly, aircraft maintenance, composites, and electronics.

The Air Washington consortium operates out of Spokane Community College. The consortium includes Big Bend Community College, Skagit Valley College, Clover Park Technical College, South Seattle Community College, Edmonds Community College, the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center, Wenatchee Valley College, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, Everett Community College, and the Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Materials Manufacturing.

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