When Tanzania Mowatt-Burleson signed up for Advanced Manufacturing that uses the Core Plus Aerospace curriculum at the Seattle Skills Center during her junior year at Rainier Beach High School, she knew she was interested in riveting, drilling and using her hands. And through the Core Plus curriculum, she saw opportunities arise where she could use her hands, operate machines and tools and explore careers with companies across Washington state.  

“I had a great teacher, and it was a great class,” says Tanzania, now a recent graduate of Seattle Public Schools. “The people made the class unique, there were a lot more girls than I expected there to be. That was fun because it can be hard being a girl in a field that is traditionally male dominated.” 

Tanzania’s experience learning from local industry professionals and participating in a Core Plus Aerospace summer internship led to a manufacturing job at Boeing immediately after graduating high school. On this Global Manufacturing Day (October 7), Tanzania’s story underscores that Washington has much to celebrate.  

With more than 265,000 advanced manufacturing jobs available at more than 6,000 firms statewide, Washington needs a well-trained workforce. The Core Plus Aerospace high school curriculum – developed by Washington teachers and industry leaders – is one of many education-to-career pathways that students can choose from to fit their interests and goals. For young people who want to learn by doing, put together puzzles or build from scratch, Core Plus Aerospace classes show students how their interests can drive them toward a successful future. Through this coursework, students prepare for high-demand jobs and get a head start building a future full of options, whether they choose to attend a technical college or university, pursue an apprenticeship, enlist in the military, or work directly in industry after high school.  

Seattle Skills Center is one of more than 50 high schools and skills centers across Washington state that offer Core Plus Aerospace, and is a member of the Washington State Skills Center Association.

“Seattle Public Schools is working to expand students’ vision of what STEM could be and how it could lead to a successful post-secondary life,” says Brian Day, Seattle Public Schools director of STEM and Career and Technical Education. “Through Core Plus Aerospace and other hands-on programs, our students discover STEM through engaging in projects and prepare for high-demand careers that may be of interest to them. It’s a win-win.” 

The Seattle Skills Center, part of SPS, delivers advanced career and technical education for high school students. Courses fulfill graduation requirements and offer students training in technical and leadership skills. Students often finish their courses with industry-recognized certification, advanced learning and college credits. Course offerings are driven by market demand, and students complete the coursework prepared to enter the workforce or with competitive skills to continue into training or college pathways, like those offered at Seattle Colleges through the Seattle Promise Scholarship.  Seattle Skills Center classes are free to SPS students and offered at a number of locations throughout the district, and there is still room in some classes for the 2022-23 school year.

During Tanzania’s summer internship at Boeing’s Renton factory, she was able to see and use the hands-on skills she learned in class applied on a much larger scale. Following the internship, she became one of the nearly 1,000 Core Plus Aerospace graduates that Boeing has hired directly into advanced manufacturing roles after high school. 

“We did more hands-on with things I didn’t expect myself to ever learn, like electrical, sealant and wiring,” Tanzania says. “I am really grateful for those skills.” 

“Hands-on learning sets students up for success because they have an opportunity to try different types of learning and different types of skill building,” says Gina Breukelman, senior manager of Boeing Global Engagement, which supports communities where the company’s employees live and work. “They can see what they like in the workplace, figure out what they are good at and enjoy. Students finish their internship prepared for manufacturing jobs at Boeing and other companies.” 

Tanzania recommends Core Plus Aerospace to high school students for learning not just how to use machines and tools, but also to learn design programs and advanced engineering elements.  

“Core Plus Aerospace really gives you a sense of choice and identity of what you want to do in your actual life,” Tanzania says. 


On this Global Manufacturing Day, students like Tanzania illustrate the promise of the pathways available in Washington that lead to rewarding advanced manufacturing careers and innovation in our communities and our state.  

To learn more about the Seattle Skills Center classes and how to enroll, check out their website at: skillscenter.seattleschools.org

To learn more about Skills Centers in Washington state and to find the Skills Center that serves your school district, check out the website for the Washington State Skills Center Association:  www.washingtonskillscenters.org

Partnership for Learning, the education foundation of the Washington Roundtable, brings together business leaders and education partners to improve our state’s education system, so Washington students are ready to pursue the career pathways of their choice. Learn more at credentialessential.com.