The Washington Aerospace Training & Research Center has distinguished itself as the most successful aerospace training program in the state.
But the demand for trained aerospace workers has surpassed the number of students who leave the center ready to fill these positions.
That is why Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, fought for and received $1.5 million in funding to double the size of the program and an additional $2.265 million to pay for the equipment that will allow it to operate at full capacity.
On Thursday, Hobbs, Gov. Chris Gregoire and other elected officials visited the WATRC for an event commemorating its expansion.
“Aerospace in Washington state must continue to move forward,” Hobbs said during his remarks,” so don’t think this is the end, because it isn’t. This is just the beginning.”
Since the WATR Center opened last year, almost 900 students have completed their training. Currently, nine of 10 graduates are placed in local, family-wage aerospace jobs. In Snohomish County alone, over 6,500 aerospace jobs have been added over the past year. This number is expected to only increase as Boeing continues to ramp up production.
“There are jobs available, but sometimes, unfortunately, there are not enough workers available who have the right skill set necessary to fill the position,” Hobbs said. “Increasing capacity of the WATRC should help alleviate that problem when it comes to jobs in aerospace.”