By Braedan Clay
Sometimes your future finds you when you’re not looking.
When I first heard about Core Plus Aerospace, I wasn’t sure what it was or if it would be a good fit. I hadn’t thought of manufacturing as a career before. I just knew I liked science, technology, engineering, math and computer-aided design (or CAD). So I talked to my guidance counselor at White River High School who suggested I take Core Plus Aerospace. I’m thankful I did.
Core Plus Aerospace is a two-year manufacturing curriculum that teaches students real-world skills in manufacturing. You get a chance to explore the aerospace industry, visit employers, and learn the skills you need for entry-level work while you’re still in high school. The curriculum, developed in partnership with Boeing, gives students more options after graduation, opening the door to high-demand manufacturing jobs.
I entered the class in my junior year without any experience. I didn’t have an easy time at the start, but through hard work, my skills developed. Along with manufacturing skills, like precision measurement and how to read blueprints, I also developed skills that I’ll use in any career, like time management, how to work in a professional setting, and teamwork. I’m getting real-world experience and my teacher treats me and my classmates like adults.
My teacher took notice of my hard work and suggested I apply for the Boeing internship. After going through the interview process, I got it! The five-week, paid internship included a 40-hour work week and was designed to show us what it’s like to work in the real world. My internship at Boeing’s Renton plant taught me an incredible amount of manufacturing and life skills like how to handle everyday activities with a sense of professionalism. I met several Boeing employees who shared their stories. I got to see what a career in this industry could be like and make connections with people who will help my professional growth. In early 2020 I plan to interview at Boeing, and if I get the position, I’ll start working soon after I graduate.
Braedan Clay is a senior at White River High School.
It’s important that students have access to hands-on classes like Core Plus Aerospace because they open our minds to different possibilities. Core Plus Aerospace is one of the most well-rounded, applicable classes I’ve taken. To any student considering taking Core Plus Aerospace or applying for the Boeing internship – do it. Trying something new is the best way to find out what you are capable of and what you want to do after high school. I had no idea what I wanted to do before I walked into that Core Plus Aerospace classroom. Now I have a plan. I’m prepared for my future.
Braedan Clay is a Senior at White River High School in the White River School District
Note: This op-ed was originally featured in the The Courier-Herald.