Spotlight: Connecting skills to Career

A graduate in a cap and gown at a graduation ceremony. When Tabitha Anderson saw the large CNC machines on her first day as a Mechatronics Maintenance Technician at Boeing she wasn’t fazed. She already knew what she was looking at because she learned about similar machines while attending Green River College.

As a Mechatronics Maintenance Technician, Tabitha maintains CNC and other automated machinery that produce airplane parts for Boeing. She also troubleshoots problems and makes sure the machines run properly.

“My time at Green River College was a really great hands-on experience that taught me the basics of mechatronics and prepared me for what I would be working with at Boeing,” Tabitha said.

Tabitha graduated from Kent Meridian High School and was a Running Start student at Green River College. While at Green River College Tabitha earned an associates degree as a mechatronics technician and learned how to operate, maintain and repair modern industrial machinery.

Green River college is a Boeing-partnered manufacturing program. Its instructors have connections to work experiences like the Core Plus Aerospace summer internship, which Tabitha participated in during the summer of 2021. Community and technical colleges across Washington also offer courses and training programs that build on the aerospace manufacturing skills students developed in the Core Plus Aerospace coursework, and can help fast track a student’s career and increase their earning potential.

“My mechatronics instructor at Green River College, David Schaafsma, really encouraged me to pursue this field and degree, Tabitha said. “Thanks to him, I’m at Boeing and I’m growing.”

Tabitha Anderson standing next to a plaque outside in front of a building Tabitha is considering continuing her education at a community and technical college as she grows her skills and career. Her career goal is to get an airframe and powerplant license to become an aircraft mechanic. There are programs at community and technical colleges across the state that offer training to qualify students to take the Federal Aviation Administration examination for the airframe and powerplant mechanic license.

Tabitha encourages students and recent graduates to start learning about the industry and building their skills and getting hands-on experience.

“Explore the industry and take advantage of as many opportunities like internships as possible,” Tabitha said. “You’ll gain experience and be able to find what you want to do as a career.”