Boeing's plans to ramp up 737 production at its Renton plant has officials in the city preparing to meet the aerospace giant's growing need for skilled workers.
Over the next 20 years, Boeing predicts that more than 600,000 aircraft maintenance technicians will be needed worldwide, 90,000 alone in the United States.
Boeing itself faces significant workforce pressures in the coming decade. Half of the company's will reach retirement age in the next 5 years. Renton alone anticipates 1,100 new jobs this year, with even more jobs created in related industries and Boeing contractors.
Preeti Shridhar, the City of Renton's communications director, said the city is working closely with Renton Technical College to expand its aerospace training program. A new facility will open at the Renton Airport in 2013 to offer high-level training through a 12-week courst.
“We're moving on a fast track for this, it’s critical, with the growth projections and orders coming in, we need to do what we can to help companies be successful," Shridhar said.
Renton Technical College is using $2 million dollars in federal funds to beef up its programs.
“We are doubling the capacity of our program to meet the growing demands in the Aerospace industry in Washington State,” said Susanna Williams, the college relations director at Renton Technical College.