Manufacturing Engineering Technologies program earns Career Launch endorsement and $1.2M in funding

By Jean Borst

The Manufacturing  Engineering Technologies (MET) program at Clover Park Technical College received a coveted Career Launch endorsement in June 2023. The designation not only provides MET students the opportunity to earn while they learn, but it also paved the way for funding to ensure they’re job-ready for future careers.

In February 2024, the MET program was awarded $1.2 million in Career Launch funding for capital equipment.

Advanced Manufacturing Instructor Carl Wenngren poses with CPTC's KUKA robotic arm in Building 24
Advanced Manufacturing Instructor Carl Wenngren poses with CPTC’s KUKA robotic arm in Building 24.

“The endorsement really underscores that our Manufacturing Engineering Technologies program provides students with the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for a range of high-demand careers in advanced manufacturing,” CPTC Dean of Instruction Dr. Claire Korschinowski said. “And the funding will ensure our students are trained on the most advanced equipment.”

Classrooms to careers

Career Launch is part of Career Connect Washington, a program that prepares young adults for in-demand, high-wage careers by combining on-the-job experience with classroom instruction. Career Launch endorsements enable students to get paid career experience while still in school. Subsequent funding opportunities offered through Career Launch help schools develop or expand programs, boost enrollment or purchase equipment.

As part of the MET Career Launch endorsement, CPTC is partnering with Auburn-based Skills Inc., one of Washington state’s largest aerospace suppliers. For more than five decades, the nonprofit social enterprise has been a leader in disability employment, providing jobs, vocational programs and other  services to ensure people with disabilities thrive at work.

“Our partnership with Clover Park Technical College offers many benefits,” Skills Inc. Work Development Director Bill George said. “The college is not only nationally recognized for its Career and Technical Education opportunities, but its Manufacturing Engineering Technologies course work, hands-on training and opportunities for Running Start students align with our operations and our mission to serve the community.”

Tomorrow’s leaders

The partnership also opened the door for Skills Inc. to apply for Career Launch funding. The company recently received a grant to create the Advanced Manufacturing Leadership Academy (AMLA), offered through a partnership between CPTC, Skills Inc. and Kent School District. The Running Start opportunity for seniors will launch in fall 2024.

During the nine-month program, students will be employed at Skills Inc. and paid during work-based learning activities. They’ll have the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the inclusive and diverse culture Skills Inc. offers and possibly spark their interest in employment opportunities.

That’s a potential big win for the manufacturing industry as it shifts into a new era of innovation and needs future leaders to steer the change.

“This is called a ‘Leadership’ Academy for a reason,” Skills Inc. CEO Todd Dunnington said. “These students grew up in a digital world and will be uniquely prepared to help organizations make the transition from current manufacturing methods to ones that are more digital and interconnected.”

The academy will also offer a significant jumpstart for students interested pursuing a manufacturing engineering tech career. Upon completion, students earn their high school diploma along with 45 credits toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Manufacturing Engineering Technologies at CPTC.

“Our partnership with CPTC has been critical for the AMLA, and their team has been exceptional to work with,” George said. “CPTC staff continue to offer essential insights as we navigate the build, launch, and implementation of the AMLA to ensure we are thoroughly prepared for on-site instruction and work-based training of the first cohort of students.”

“This is a trifecta for CPTC, Skills Inc. and the Kent School District,” Korschinowski said. “High school students will take advanced manufacturing classes, get on-the-job training and earn college credit. And for students who want to continue their studies beyond their AMLA experience, they will be able to seamlessly transition into CPTC’s MET program.”

Partnerships pay off

CPTC now has three Career Launch-endorsed programs, which also include the Heating & Air Condition/Refrigeration Service Technician and Nursing Assistant Certificate programs.

Career Launch-endorsed programs at CPTC are just one example of how collaboration between the college and industries help ensure education is relevant and aligned with job-market needs.

Ready to partner? If your company is looking for workforce solutions, contact Korschinowski at