NEW MID-MARKET AIRCRAFT: GETTING IT DONE IN WASHINGTON LOCAL AEROSPACE INDUSTRY LEADERS WEIGH IN ON WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS WITH THE NMA. 18TH ANNUAL AEROSPACE CONFERENCE | SOARING TO SUCCESS BY JENNIFER FERRERO APR Communications Consultant / Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing In November, Choose Washington and the New Mid-Market Airplane Council released a report titled “Aerospace Workforce Development Strategy & Recommendations.” The report was produced following six-months of intensive meetings with 35 industry leaders in the Workforce Development Workgroup. Concurrent to the release of the report, Governor Jay Inslee released his annual budget, which addressed many of these initiatives with funding. The goal is to keep Washington competitive and working on the New Mid-Market Aircraft (NMA) for the foreseeable future. Executive Director, Mary Kaye Bredeson and team are deeply involved with workforce development growth for the aerospace industry. We’ve talked with several our partners about these initiatives to see what is already in the works. This article reviews six key initiatives and provides insight into current work within each of the initiatives. 1. CAPACITY: INCREASE CAPACITY IN RELEVANT EDUCATION & TRAINING PROGRAMS This initiative is focused on expanding educational options in Washington that will bring more people into aerospace careers. From providing more skills centers and Core Plus programs in high school, to increased community and technical college programs and finally increased options at our 4-year institutions, this initiative will position Washington to take on more students. It also provides for expanded research and internships. What’s going on now: Beth Hacker, PhD, Program Manager, Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI) said that, “In terms of Capacity, JCATI projects not only provide WA engineering students with direct industry experience but also gives employers a chance to observe and recruit potential employees. If JCATI is expanded, more students could benefit from this intensive interaction, which may give WA aerospace companies an edge in recruitment as many sectors are competing for highly skilled workers.” 2. CONNECTIONS: STRENGTHEN STUDENT/PARENT CONNECTIONS TO CAREER & TECHNICAL TRAINING & EDUCATION Early immersion into career and technical education is the best way to bring both parents and students into a better reality. For many years’ parents fought the idea that their student might not be 4-year college ready. Over the past decade, we’ve learned that about half of all students need to take a different approach to college. What’s going on now: Susan Christenson, CTE Director, Central Valley School District said, “In our District, career readiness is the focus. High School and Beyond planning are focused on career connected learning opportunities and placements, reflecting important partnerships between business, community and education, which further supports student discovery and awareness.” 3. ATTAINMENT: INCREASE INDUSTRY-VALUED DEGREE/ CREDENTIAL ATTAINMENT In recent years, manufacturers have been desperate for qualified employees and thus have been hiring students out of their programs to start work early. Many people are happy to drop out of school in order to begin earning, but that has left a big gap in qualified, certified workers. What’s going on now: Maggie Bagwell, director, Sno-Isle Skills Center has a dual credit arrangement with Everett Community College for the Airframe & Powerplant degree. She said that they have aligned core plus with A&P, where students can earn up to 40-credits toward the program at Everett CC. “It is an amazing opportunity for students; not only are they saving money, but they get a huge jumpstart on their career.” 4. PLACEMENT: INCREASE FOCUS ON JOB PLACEMENT AND CAREER OUTCOMES Internships and apprenticeships are the best ways to turn a student into a productive employee. Job placement following achievement of a degree or certification, and an internship or apprenticeship can provide better guarantees to manufacturers. 18