Spokane Community College’s Air Washington Program – a consortium of 14 colleges, two aerospace companies and an apprenticeship committee – will be awarded a $20 million grant, the U.S. Department of Labor announced Monday.
The money is expected to be used for education, training and services to support the aerospace industry, officials said.
“SCC will receive $5.8 million and the rest will be shared with the other consortium members,” said Joe Dunlap, Spokane Community College president. “We were the lead agency on putting this grant together.”
The grant will go toward curriculum development and deliver training for the aerospace industry, Dunlap said. There are about 600 aerospace companies in Washington, and the program will provide training for those businesses.
SCC’s Felts Field facility is one of five airframe and power plant schools in Washington. Students can earn degrees or certificates in programs such as avionics, computer-assisted drafting and design technology, CNC machinist, computer software engineering, electronics, hydraulic and pneumatic automation and welding.
In addition, SCC is exploring a partnership with Green River Community College to offer an air traffic controller program.
“This is fantastic news for workers and aerospace companies in Spokane and across Washington state,” Sen. Patty Murray said in a news release.
The grant is the first installment in a $2 billion, four-year federal investment in jobs programs.
Although the money can only be used for education that supports the aerospace program, the extra money “does help out during these tough budget times,” Dunlap said.