In front of a large flight simulator, the president of Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Washington, explained to faculty, school trustees and community partners the deep impact Boeing’s just-announced $100,000 grant to his school will have on students.
“Boeing’s generous gift to Big Bend will open access to students seeking high-demand, high-skill, high-wage careers in aviation maintenance technology and commercial flight,” said Dr. Terry Leas, president of Big Bend Community College (BBCC).
Boeing is deepening its connection with Moses Lake as the company partners with the community to ensure the proper storage and maintenance of 737 MAX airplanes during the pause in deliveries. The company recently announced the temporary hiring of several hundred skilled workers in Moses Lake to support the airplane’s safe return to service.
To demonstrate its commitment to the community, Boeing announced the $100,000 grant to Big Bend to support pilot and aircraft maintenance technician programs, and $25,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin to support education and career preparation programs.
Boeing has collaborated with Big Bend for the past four years, sharing manufacturing career opportunities with graduating students and partnering with their new Mechatronics program. The grants will fund two specific programs:
- The Commercial Pilot Program, a rigorous two-year commercial pilot-training program that leads to FAA certification and prepares students for a career as a professional pilot;
- The two-year Aviation Maintenance Technology program that prepares students for FAA airframe and power-plant maintenance certification, and for employment in aviation maintenance careers.
“We are grateful for Boeing’s willingness to invest in our students’ futures,” said Leas. “Partners like Boeing have the power to transform lives.”
The $25,000 grant to the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin will be directed towards the Education and Career Development program that supports childhood academic success.
“This gift will enable us to reach our goal of all young people, especially those who need us most, reaching their full potential and providing positive opportunities for our 1300 members,” said Kim Pope, executive director, Boys & Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin.
The two grants are part of Boeing’s commitment to being a good partner in communities where its employees live and work.
“Boeing offers our sincere appreciation to the Moses Lake community for its long-standing partnership and support,” said Kevin McAllister, president and CEO of Commercial Airplanes. “With our recent announcement to employ hundreds of people in the area, we are pleased to invest in two strong organizations in BBCC and Boys & Girls Clubs of the Columbia Basin to help them further their mission to serve the Moses Lake community.”
As John Marc Swedburg, chief flight instructor at the college showed guests some of the aircraft on the school’s flight line, he said the grant from Boeing will make a big difference to students he teaches.
“It’s huge,” said Swedburg. “Our number of students is increasing, but having resources to support them is critical. This grant means more assistance for students who need help, and will help their future success.”
By Deborah Feldman