Students in the aviation program at Spokane Community College are the beneficiaries of a huge gift from the Boeing Company.
Boeing has donated a 12-foot tall, 17,000-pound 787 jet engine to the SCC Aviation Maintenance program.
The program, which has been going since the 1960s at SCC, has trained students for jobs in aerospace and aviation.
Dave Cox, the dean for technical education at SCC, says the gift of the giant General Electric engine will benefit the program, from which nearly 100 students graduate every year.
“It’s a huge deal," Cox said. "It’s the single piece of our power plant side that we teach here that we’ve never had, and that’s a large format, high-bypass turbine engine. We’ve had a lot of small turbines that will teach the concept, but as you can see by the size of this engine, what we couldn’t teach before, is scale."
Bill McSherry, Boeing's vice president of government operations, says the time is right for students who want to get into the field of aviation maintenance.
“We know that over the next 10 or 20 years there are going to be 2.4 million jobs that will go unfilled because students don’t have the technical skills that employers require, so we have undertaken a really considered effort to work with our universities and colleges to make sure the students that are in the communities we operate in have the opportunities to get the skills we, the employers, need. There’s a ton of really good jobs if you get the right skills you will be absolutely competitive for," he said.
The massive engine will be stored and available for student use in the large aviation maintenance hanger operated by SCC at Felts Field.