UPDATE: Cantwell, Murray, Air Washington unveil new program to train 2,600 workers for aerospace job needs

U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Air Washington in unveiling details of a new program to train 2,600 more workers with the skills needed by Washington state aerospace employers at an event at South Seattle Community College on Friday. It was held in the Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) building.

Cantwell and Murray formally announced a $20 million Department of Labor grant for Air Washington’s new training programs, which will help make the state a national commercial aviation training hub. SSCC will receive $1.4 million. It is to be paid over three years.

The college also received an additional $1 million dollars in partnership with Clover Park Technical College (which received $600,000) to expand the shared composites curriculum and the new composites lab at the Georgetown campus.

Air Washington is a consortium of Washington’s aerospace education and training organizations, made up of 14 community and technical colleges across Washington and several aerospace training organizations, to meet the needs of Washington’s 650 aerospace employers. Cantwell and Murray will tour one such training facility – the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee’s (AJAC) Advanced Inspection and Manufacturing Mobile Training Unit (AIM-MTU) – at South Seattle Community College in West Seattle.

The consortium also coordinates a new program that provides training to meet Washington state’s growing aerospace workforce demands in advanced manufacturing/machining, aircraft assembly, aircraft maintenance, composites, and electronics. Air Washington seeks to recruit and train more women, veterans, individuals with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups for aerospace jobs.

In 20 years, the global aerospace industry will be worth an estimated $3.6 trillion. The Air Washington grant, which Cantwell and Murray supported, will keep Washington an industry leader by training a competitive aerospace workforce, creating aviation jobs, and supporting economic development in the region.

Also on hand for the event:

· U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA)

· U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)

· Gary Oertli, President, South Seattle Community College and Vice Chancellor for District-wide Instruction

· Laura Hopkins, Executive Director, Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee

· Joe Dunlap, President, Spokane Community College

· Janie Pierce, Precision Machine Works

· Randy Elvrom, Allflight

· Julien Loh, Northwest Regional Representative, Office of Governor Chris Gregoire