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Northwest Composites in Community College program

09 June 2003

Northwest Composites Inc. will give students in the college's new materials science technology program 100 hours' use of their autoclave.

The students will use a Northwest Composite autoclave, said Jerilee Mosier, the vice president of workforce development at the college. It's a key step in the process of manufacturing with composites, said Bill Karman, Northwest Composites' vice president of research and development.

But autoclaves are expensive, he said. The one the company will let students use has computer controls to adjust temperature and air pressure, and would cost about $1 million if the school were to buy it new.

Having Northwest Composites donate the use of its equipment means that students ""can use industry-standard autoclaves to really see what happens to the material,"" Mosier said.

Students will develop composite pieces in their college classes, then bring it to Northwest Composites where ""we will cook it for them,"" Karman said.

Supporting the new EdCC program helps the company because it provides better-trained workers for the industry, Northwest Composites manager Jerry Goodwin said in a statement announcing the donation. ""We are always seeking highly skilled people who understand materials technology, especially composites materials and processing,"" Goodwin said.

The new Edmonds Community College program is intended to train workers in handling the new materials, so they could take entry-level jobs as technicians in aerospace or with other manufacturers that use composites, including boat builders. EdCC's materials science technology program is expected to debut this fall, with a first group of 25 to 30 students, Mosier said. That will expand to about 50 students by winter quarter. The program is being funded by a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The program also is expected to coordinate with a proposed new material science research program at the University of Washington. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., has proposed federal funding for that four-year program.

In addition, Central Washington University plans to offer both bachelor's and master's degrees in materials science at its Lynnwood branch campus. The EdCC classes would serve as the first two years of course work toward those degrees.






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