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John Wolcott / SCBJ 
(click to enlarge)
The newest of Everett Community College’s special initiatives projects is the Vintage Aero Tech Program, a familiarization course for vintage aircraft radial engine mechanics and history enthusiasts. The focus will be on World War II aircraft such as this radial engine Navy trainer.

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Jim Davis, Editor
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Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011

EvCC adds education initiatives for business

EVERETT — Everett Community College is expanding its education resources for Snohomish County businesses and employees through an innovative new initiatives program.

After only a year in her new role as director of new initiatives at EvCC, Melissa Helmenstine oversees nine specialized programs that provide skills training, apprenticeships and other education options in aviation, manufacturing and property management specialties.

“Rather than emphasizing academic student degrees, we offer programs for specific training, many of them short-term courses with certificates of completion that employees need for promotions, getting into new fields or getting back to work,” Helmenstine said. “There are a lot of vocational programs, including welding, for people who need training in advanced skills.”

Many of the new programs are designed to serve area businesses, particularly in aerospace fields. Funding comes from grants provided by the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County, Washington state’s Hospital Employee Education and Training program, and the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Rather than being designed for the general public, the initiative programs are primarily created for people who want to train for special skills or upgrade their skills and training for technical positions or skill categories open to limited but essential segments of the job market.

Some of the classroom work for the initiatives is held at EvCC’s Corporate and Continuing Education Center (CCEC) at 2333 Seaway Blvd., a 26,000-square-foot facility with classrooms and computer labs. The center, within walking distance of the Everett Boeing plant, offers more than 100 regularly scheduled open-enrollment courses for employees as well as specialized on-site training at local companies.

More than 10,000 students use the CCEC annually in a variety of programs, including some of the new initiative creations.

“We train people at CCEC and all over Snohomish County, with an emphasis on business programs, work processes, leadership development, management and similar needs. Our instructors are people who work in a business environment and bring their experience to the classroom,” said education center Executive Director John Bonner. He and Helmenstine work collaboratively on a variety of related programs.

The center’s three major areas include professional development courses, customized health and aerospace courses to meet employer needs and small business acceleration courses, he said.

“Our new small business acceleration courses are really taking off,” Bonner said. “They’re different than regular programs. We created them last year, focusing on businesses with an income of $500,000 or more annually and five to 10 years in business. We show them how to realign their businesses and accelerate their profitability. Right now we’re working with about 18 companies. The courses include classroom studies of best practices, networking with cohorts and the benefits of using a business coach.”

Since the center receives no state funding through the college, “we listen carefully to business needs and work hard to respond with speed, efficiency and quality … we have to operate like a business ourselves but also interface with other college programs,” he said.

The 10-month Small Business Accelerator program involves 50 hours of instruction, plus one-on-one coaching time. Cost for the program is $1,700. More information is available at www.everettcc.edu/accelerator or e-mail inquiries to accelerator@everettcc.edu.

The new initiatives program headed by Helmenstine looks for specialized fields of training that serve the needs of both businesses and people who want to improve their corporate, medical or technical qualifications. Some are looking for new career fields, others want to advance in their existing roles.

She’s enthused over the growth of the initiatives program she’s overseeing, including the newest one, the Vintage Aero Tech Program. Classes are set for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 16, 23 and 30. Limited to 15 participants, the cost is $550.

“It’s for anyone who wants to learn about working on vintage aircraft” like the P-51 Mustang and the F8F Bearcat, she said. Participants explore the history of World War II-era aircraft, plus operation, maintenance and restoration techniques.

Aviation mechanics and vintage aviation enthusiasts in the classes will tour a radial engine overhaul facility, participate in engine maintenance techniques and learn about operating vintage aircraft. After a series of interviews, the college hired Bob Dalton in February as the instructor for the course. Dalton has 35 years of experience with vintage aircraft and engines and works for Precision Engines at Paine Field.

Two of the three Saturday classes will be held at the Everett Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology School at Paine Field. On the third Saturday, class work will move to John Sessions’ Historic Flight Foundation Restoration Center at Paine Field, a nonprofit organization partnering with the college in the program and providing access to its collection of World War II aircraft. Students do not need to be certified mechanics, but they should have some tool experience to get the most out of this program, Helmenstine said.

Also included in the special initiative education packages offered by the college are these courses:

Airframe & Powerplant

Developed in response to requests from local aerospace companies, this new program is the only one of its kind in the state, designed for individuals with relevant work experience as a mechanic in the aerospace industry. The course work prepares students to test for an FAA Mechanic’s Certificate with an A&P rating, including three oral and practical exam courses on general knowledge, airframe and powerplant subjects. Sessions are held at the college’s Paine Field aviation facilities.

Electronic troubleshooting

Two Federal grants totaling $95,000 were awarded to EvCC’s Corporate & Continuing Education Center by the Workforce Development Council of Snohomish County to fill a critical need in the aerospace industry.

Participants learn the fundamentals of electronic components, circuits and testing with emphasis on component and circuit operations, analysis and documentation. Training takes place at the CCEC.

The program was developed in partnership with local aerospace companies. Students often have been recruited and hired directly out of the classes to fill immediate needs in the aerospace industry. In addition to dislocated workers, the course is available to individuals and employers.

Nursing and health care

EvCC received a three-year, $4.8 million Department of Labor grant in partnership with the Northwest and Snohomish County Workforce Development Councils and five community colleges (including Everett, Bellingham, Shoreline, Cascadia and Edmonds) to expand the LPN-to-RN bridge and two other allied health programs.

EvCC also received a $250,000 Washington state Hospital Employee Education and Training grant as part of a partnership program with Providence Regional Medical Center Everett to create an online program for the LPN-to-RN program, Helmenstine said.

Also, two grants were received from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to help pay for tuition and supplies for students in the medical assistant programs. More information is available from Stu Barger at 425-388-9142.

Property management

This is the second year for a Property Management Office Worker course created by the initiative program, a result of a partnership involving Housing Hope, Coast Property Management, Everett Community College and the Workforce Development Council.

The program helps prepare low-income individuals, including many who have experienced homelessness, for career opportunities in multifamily apartment management. The courses combine classroom learning with hands-on internship placement in local affordable housing facilities. Upon graduation, job placement is often available for property management entry-level positions that offer career-wage progression.

This year the program has been expanded to provide training for maintenance workers in property management as well. There are 29 students enrolled in both programs. All students are required to complete internships as well as coursework.

Submerged arc welding

A grant from the Workforce Development Council established a new initiatives program to train both employed and unemployed workers in submerged arc welding. Used for large projects such as ship building, wind towers, airplane parts, hydro-electric pipes, bio-diesel tanks and many other items, sub-arc welding involves operating a semi-automated piece of equipment rather than using traditional hand-held methods.

The college has partnered with businesses T. Bailey of Anacortes and Lincoln Electric Co., a leader in utilizing sub-arc technology. The company consistently hires EvCC students and graduates for employment.

Students will be trained on the sub-arc machine and test for a professional welding certification through the Washington Association of Building Officials (WABO). Successful, students will receive a FCAW Welder Operator certification and a 13-credit academic certificate from Everett Community College upon completion.

The program has limited openings, requires prerequisite welding skills and primarily serves dislocated workers.

TIG welding

Specialized training in Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding classes at EvCC also is funded by the Workforce Development Council to provide training in this specialized technique that welds stainless steel, aluminum and exotic metals. Aerospace and other industries use TIG Welding, making skilled operators in high demand.

For instance, Bonner said, ABW Technologies in Arlington needs 20 to 30 trained TIG welders over the next 12 months to complete a newly awarded contract for nuclear waste container fabrication. EvCC is developing its TIG welding curriculum and will offer the 3-credit course to 10 students this spring.

“Presently, we have 36 people training in the sub arc program and 10 enrolled in the TIG arc classes,” he said.

Sustainable office business training

This two-quarter program prepares students to gain entry-level employment in an office environment. It provides training in sustainable office/basic office skills and is part of an Integrated Basic Education Skills Training program that combines vocational education with basic academic skills and English language proficiency. This program is funded with a Workforce Development Council grant in partnership with Edmonds and Cascadia community colleges.

Machinist apprentice

Also, EvCC has expanded its partnership with the state’s Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee to offer a second apprenticeship program. The four-year, aircraft-oriented machining program provides entry-level applicants an opportunity to become journey-level machinists working for local employers.

For more information about Everett Community College’s initiative programs or related courses, contact the Corporate & Continuing Education Center at 425-267-0150 or e-mail learn@everettcc.edu.