Students Showcase Real-World Manufacturing Skills at Competition

Sounds of drilling and hammering filled the air as 60 Core Plus Aerospace students put their real-world skills to work at the SkillsUSA Washington Manufacturing Assembler Competition, held on Feb. 29. Students from 20 high schools and skills centers across the state participated in the Everett, WA event – twice the number of schools as last year!

Christopher Wigestrand from Hazen High School in Renton won first place in this year’s contest.

Hosted by Boeing, the competition featured a hands-on assembly project that tested the skills students are learning in the Core Plus Aerospace curriculum, such as drilling, riveting and print reading. Competitors also participated in resume reviews and mock interviews with Boeing employees.

“It is rewarding, because you’re seeing the next generation of the manufacturing workforce demonstrate their skillset,” said John Turner, Boeing workforce development manager, “and they’re working together and helping each other along the way.”

Congratulations to Christopher Wigestrand from Hazen High School in Renton for winning first place in this year’s contest! Jeric Liam of Renton High School was awarded second place and Matthew Oakes of Elma High School earned third place.

Students at the 2020 event heard from last year’s winner, Moyaak “MuMu” Chuol, who spoke about his path to becoming a mechanic at Boeing. Core Plus Aerospace students like MuMu have a clear advantage when pursuing apprenticeships, careers, and education after high school. The curriculum is now found at more than 40 high schools statewide.

“The more that students understand all their options, the better choices they can make for themselves,” said James Polson, instructor at SEATech Skills Center in Walla Walla, which also had a team competing.

Juliana Mrsny of Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma

Students at the competition echoed that Core Plus Aerospace has built both their manufacturing skills and their confidence.

“It’s definitely broadened my horizons and it’s taught me a lot of job skills and just applications for life,” said Juliana Mrsny, a student at Franklin Pierce High School in Tacoma and SkillsUSA competitor. “I’ve learned so much and I’ve become such a different person from when I started in the program.”

Musa Kamara of Lynnwood High School

Musa Kamara of Lynnwood High School said Core Plus Aerospace has improved his confidence and helped him feel prepared for the competition. He hopes to eventually become a mechatronics maintenance mechanic.

SkillsUSA is national career and technical service organization comprised of students, teachers, and industry professionals working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Core Plus Aerospace and SkillsUSA together help to open the door to the next generation of manufacturing workers.

If you’re a student or a parent and want to learn more about Core Plus Aerospace and competitions like SkillsUSA, talk to a guidance counselor or to your school or district’s Career and Technical Education director. You also can use the location finder tool to find a Core Plus Aerospace class near you or sign up for email updates and be the first to learn when the program expands to new locations.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in this year’s SkillsUSA competition! Check out the video from Boeing that highlights the passion and dedication of these amazing students.

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