EVERETT — What do you do if you can’t sit still? Fiddle with your mom’s watch? Take apart your dad’s key ring?
How about installing rivets on a Boeing 777?
OK, it was only a mock-up, but Sarah Millett and 12 other high school students from around the state got the chance to do that and more as interns this summer at Boeing’s Everett delivery center. That’s where the final inspections occur.
The new six-week internship enabled interns to shadow Boeing workers, acquire new manufacturing skills and refine their resume-writing skills, said Michelle Burreson , a senior manager for Boeing’s workforce development.
All 13 are participants in Core Plus, a two-year curriculum that prepares high school students for college and entry-level manufacturing jobs. The program, which debuted in 2016, saw its first graduates this spring.
Boeing helped design and finance a standardized curriculum recognized by manufacturers throughout Washington, said Scott Lefeber, a Boeing spokesman.
First-year students focus on fundamental manufacturing skills; second-year students choose a specialty, such as aerospace or agriculture. More than 30 high schools and skill centers offer the standardized program throughout the state.
Millett is entering the second year of the Core Plus program at Sno-Isle TECH Skills Center in Everett.
The aerospace giant hopes the program will boost the number of high school graduates with manufacturing and trade skills.
The aim is “to build a manufacturing pipeline in Washington state,” Lefeber said. Boeing, which employs more than 65,000 throughout Washington, predicts that up to half of its openings in the next few years will be in manufacturing.
But it’s not just the aerospace industry that needs help on the assembly line.
Nationally, it’s estimated that more than half of the 3.5 million manufacturing job openings in the next decade will go unfilled due to lack of training, said Lefeber, citing a recent Deloitte US study.
The internship taught Millett what’s required to work on the wings of a Boeing 777: accuracy, precision, care.
Ever since Millett was little, she recalls being unable to sit still.
“I always have to have something to do,” she said. That urge led her to Sno-Isle TECH. This fall, she’ll be a senior at Glacier Peak High School south of Snohomish. Like other Sno-Isle students, she’ll split her days between her home high school and the tech center, which serves more than a dozen school districts.
Mike Solohubovskyy, 18, a new Boeing hire, joined Millet and other Core Plus interns at a Boeing celebration this month marking the end of the six-week internship.
Solohubovskyy, now a general mechanic on Boeing KC-46 tankers, completed the Core Plus program in June.
But he’s also opted for more training. Before he clocks in for the evening shift, he attends Everett Community College’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School, a two-year program to earn his Federal Aviation Administration mechanic’s license.
It’s a hectic schedule. There is work. There is school and homework. On the upside, Boeing pays his tuition.
To keep focused, “I sold my Xbox and my PlayStation,” he said ruefully.
Millett will head back to school next month. She praised the internship for teaching her “the right way to do things.”
Her only complaint? “I wish it would have been longer,” she said.
Janice Podsada; firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3097. Twitter: JanicePods.