From: State Board of Community and Technical Colleges and The Center of Excellence for Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing


Manufacturing is vital in Washington state. Even with the economic impact to business and industry in 2020 due to the pandemic, manufacturing still prevails as an in-demand and desirable career path. With an average wage exceeding $88,000 per year, manufacturing offers hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs and advancement opportunities at more than 6,600 firms statewide. In addition, millions of job openings for skilled manufacturing workers are expected across our nation in the next handful of years. The door to opportunity is open!

Core Plus Aerospace gives high school students a head start on exploring a manufacturing career and developing hands-on, in-demand skills. Programs at Washington’s community and technical colleges offer further opportunities for students to build out their skill sets and earn credentials essential to lifelong growth and careers.

While in high school, Core Plus Aerospace students can master the manufacturing basics—including everything from safety and shop tools to print reading and materials science. They can dig deeper into industry specifics like fiber optics, advanced composites, and robotics. They are then ready to come to our campuses and dig into more advanced learning in fields like mechatronics, avionics, and more. Some Core Plus Aerospace programs are already set up for dual-credit, giving students a head start toward earning in-demand certificates and credentials. Add to that, Washington’s community and technical colleges enjoy strong partnerships with local businesses, higher education institutions and community organizations that support high-quality training and real-world experience.

We are proud supporters of Core Plus Aerospace, and in partnership with Washington’s manufacturing companies, we are excited to help more Washington students explore their options, achieve their goals, and launch careers in manufacturing.

Learn more about the range of Core Plus-aligned community and technical college programs here.

Mary Kaye Bredeson
Executive Director
Center of Excellence for Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing
Marie Bruin
Workforce Education Director
Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

Spotlight: North Seattle College & Shoreline Community College

Washington’s community and technical colleges offer more than 40 programs that build on foundational manufacturing skills developed through Core Plus Aerospace programs at high schools and skills centers across Washington state. One example: Mechatronics Associate of Applied Science degree program offered jointly by North Seattle College and Shoreline Community College.

This program combines knowledge of mechanics, electronics, industrial automation and control systems, and robotics. Coursework emphasizes preventive and predictive machine maintenance as applied to mechanical components and systems, analysis and troubleshooting of direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) circuits, analog and digital electronics, programmable logic controllers (PLCs), information technology (IT), electric motor controls and drives, robotics, and fluid power systems including hydraulics and pneumatics.

The two-year program culminates in an applied associate of science degree that opens doors to a variety of careers in specialties including aerospace, manufacturing, industrial automation and control, robotics, and electromechanical systems — in both the private and public sectors. Graduates often pursue positions such as industrial machinery mechanic, electro-mechanical technician, robotics technician, and many more, that provide room for growth and upskilling once employed. Graduates are also well-positioned to continue their education at the university level and pursue apprenticeships or other industry-based training.

“There’s no single best path to launch a career in manufacturing, but we know that specialized training is required to move into positions with room for creativity and advancement,” says Julie Lyderson, a career navigator at North Seattle College. “Students graduate from our program with highly marketable skills that are increasingly in demand across employment sectors.”

Community and technical colleges like North Seattle College and Shoreline Community College offer small class sizes, are affordable, enable students to attend colleges and explore work in their communities, offer direct access to instructors with a wealth of industry experience, and foster deep connections with local industry. These programs also promote work-embedded learning experiences and internships as well as hands-on learning in dynamic environments.

“Working in the aerospace industry gives me the motivation to develop my expertise in different fields,” said Baydaa Altaiyar, a North Seattle College graduate and electronic technician at Boeing. “Looking into the future, I want to study and learn more about manufacturing and other important skills such as robotics to become an engineer.”

Career Pathway Opportunities: North Seattle College