Teaching In-Demand Skills for Bright Futures 

Providing encouragement and support for students to choose their path is part of Puget Sound Skills Center’s (PSSC) promise and purpose. Nestor Rodriguez, a PSSC graduate, turned the support and skills he developed in Core Plus Aerospace into a career as an Aircraft Structures Mechanic at Boeing, where he works on the 767 program in Everett.  

“Core Plus Aerospace was a great learning experience,” Nestor said. “It provided a lot of opportunities, and it was really eye opening.”  

A photo Nestor Rodriguez. Nestor is wearing safety glasses and is inside of a classroom.
Nestor Rodriguez in the Core Plus Aerospace classroom at Puget Sound Skills Center

PSSC serves high school juniors and seniors interested in specialized career and technical learning. Along with Core Plus Aerospace, PSSC offers 16 programs, from digital animation to fashion design. Operated by Highline Public Schools, PSSC serves students from 22 partner high schools in the Highline, Federal Way, Tukwila and Tahoma school districts. 

Nestor’s Core Plus Aerospace instructor Steve Buck has helped grow the program at PSSC. Along with more students taking Core Plus Aerospace at the skills center, the number of students receiving job offers from Boeing has doubled year-over-year. Steve’s students learn precision measurement, blueprint reading, quality inspection processes, troubleshooting, drilling and riveting along with skills like communications and teamwork.  

“I’m really passionate about helping students and showing them this is a career and a passion they can have for the rest of their lives,” Steve said. 

A teacher instructing a student how to do an electrical project
Core Plus Aerospace instructor Steve Buck teaching a student how to do an electrical project.

Steve also said that since his students come from different districts and may not know each other when they first get to the class, they enjoy developing relationships and growing a community together during the school year.  

 “A lot of my students get hired at Boeing or other manufacturing companies and they’re going to see each other during their careers,” Steve said. Along with learning technical skills, the students really enjoy making friendships for life; they value that a lot.” 

Nestor also thinks Core Plus Aerospace can help high school students find a path and that students who complete the program will graduate with skills that will benefit them the rest of their lives.  

“Aerospace is now where I want to be,” Nestor said. “I’m excited to be able to reap the benefits of taking Core Plus Aerospace.”