New aerospace class at Sumner HS prepares students for high-demand jobs

Omar Montoya has always had an interest in aerospace, so when he went to his school counselor to talk about class selections, a brand new course offering immediately stuck out to him.

“They told me that they had this class called Core Plus Aerospace. Once I heard the word aerospace, I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh, I've been wanting to do aerospace for a really long time,’” said Omar, a junior at Sumner High School. 

This year, Omar and 60 other students had the opportunity to learn more about the field of aerospace and potential job opportunities through Sumner High School’s new Core Plus Aerospace class. 

Core Plus Aerospace is a two-year high school advanced manufacturing curriculum that prepares students for high-demand jobs through hands-on learning. Students gain real-world skills that open doors to good-paying manufacturing jobs and give them an advantage when applying for apprenticeships, post-high school certificates, and college degrees.

The courses were developed by industry leaders, such as Boeing, in partnership with the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and has been implemented at schools across the state.

The 2021-22 school year is the first year of the Core Plus Aerospace Manufacturing I course at SHS. The course is taught by CTE teacher Trisha Fry, who also has previous experience working at Boeing.

In the course, students learn basic skills, including:

  • Introduction to Material Sciences
  • Precision Measurement
  • Fastening 
  • Drilling
  • Cutting and Grinding
  • Riveting
  • Blueprint reading

Next year, SHS is planning to launch Core Plus Aerospace Manufacturing II, which covers:

  • Pneumatics and Hydraulics
  • Basic Electrical
  • Soldering
  • Introduction to Welding (via virtual welders)

Aaron Tomyn, Director of Career and College Readiness for the Sumner-Bonney Lake School District, said that the program gives students a leg up in getting hired while also addressing the need for people in the aerospace field. 

“We often hear from our business partners, ‘If you can teach them to use basic tools, precision measurement, and how to read a blueprint, we can train them to use our specialized tools,’” Aaron said. 

Omar, who is the president of Skills USA for Aerospace at SHS, participated in the Skills USA competition at Boeing along with other members of the SHS team in March. The competition included interviews and hands-on activity.

Omar said he’s interested in continuing to explore the aerospace field and possibly an apprenticeship or internship. 

“I enjoyed it this year - I’ll definitely want to do it next year,” he said.