Published March 2006

Next-generation materials
to be focus of tech center

By John Wolcott
SCBJ Editor

In late 2007, Everett Community College’s new $2 million, 6,050-square-foot Technology Center will open at Paine Field, offering expanded programs for students training for industry jobs in aircraft and engine maintenance, welding and fabrication, nondestructive material inspections, composite material repairs and manufacturing management.

College officials say the center will be a major step forward in meeting growing technology employment needs in Snohomish County. Funds will come from a $1 million state grant and $1 million in matching funds that the college hopes to secure by June 30.

Construction is planned for this fall, adjacent to the present offices, classrooms, workshop and aircraft hangar that provide the headquarters for the existing aviation maintenance programs for the college at the northeast corner of the airfield.

Graduates will be ready-to-work employees needed by the county’s growing aviation, military, manufacturing, construction, fabrication and marine sectors.

“Having all of those programs at one site will provide opportunities for interdisciplinary training, sharing equipment between programs and allowing students to study in more than one technology field,” said Dan Minzel, chairman of the college’s welding and fabrication department.

“There are new materials that didn’t exist 10 years ago, new welding and fabrication techniques and other high-tech skills that are in great demand,” he said. “We work with local industries so we know their technology needs. Then we can customize our training programs.”

Minzel said the present program hasn’t been able to keep up with job demands. Travis Industries, a fireplace manufacturer in Mukilteo, wanted 150 people as soon as possible, he said, adding that the program placed 80 graduates last year in jobs averaging $14 an hour.

Dottie Krzyzanoski, vice president of college advancement and executive director of the Everett Community College Foundation, is heading the $1 million fund drive for the matching donations, working with an advisory committee composed of instructors and industry representatives. One early donor, the Boeing Employees Credit Union, BECU, has committed $50,000 to the project. With 10 percent of the funding raised in early February, the rest is anticipated from funding proposals being considered by Goodrich and other major manufacturing businesses in the county.

“This is a work-force development initiative for us. We will be setting the center up to train employees that companies say they need. It’s an investment in the future of our community’s economic development,” she said.

Pat Sisneros, interim vice president of administration and dean of the business and applied technology division, said he expects the tech center also will provide short, multi-week courses in such specialties as composite materials so people already employed in various industries can train there to advance in their current industries.

“Perhaps the most ironic thing about all of this is that four years ago we had only about 60 students in the welding program, and we were considering canceling it,’ said Sisneros. “When Dan came here, he upgraded the training and added fabrication to the welding program. Now we have 200 students. In fact, instead of a six-month certification, more and more students are staying for two-year degrees to learn to be metal mechanics, not just welders.”

Related: EvCC in growth mode
Related: Aviation program works closely with industry

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