Bring Back Shop Class (And a Forklift!)

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RBHS Machine Shop 025A teacher helping to revive vocational education in Seattle is attempting to secure a forklift.

Chris Names wants to use the forklift to help round out the instruction he provides to students through the Aerospace Science and Technology Skill Center program of the Seattle Public Schools. The program is based at Rainier Beach High School.

“We want to get the kids certified in forklift operation to help them prepare for work,” Names said.

If you have a used forklift or know someone who might, contact Christine Jones at the Manufacturing Industrial Council. She will pass the to word Chris. Christine can be reached at, or 206-762-2470.

Students in the program already receive instruction in safety, math, material science, chemistry, tool and equipment use. The program is part of a new statewide industrial arts initiative called “Core Plus.”

The program started two years ago as a pilot project in Yakima. Today, Rainier Beach is one of 30 locations around the state where Core Plus is available, with enrollment options available to students from more than 150 high schools.

A Core Plus video is available here. It was also included in a front page article in the April 5 Seattle Times here.

In addition to Seattle, other Core Plus programs are available in King County through the Puget Sound Skill Center in Burien; Auburn High School, and Lindbergh High School in Renton. Expansion plans include hopes to open a marine technology program at Ballard High School.

The Seattle program based at Rainier Beach opened during the 2013-2014 school year. Students can attend from any Seattle public high school. Instruction lasts for three hours each day, for two full semesters.

Some students in the program need to get jobs immediately after high school graduation. For those students, forklift training will come in handy. Other students go on to post-secondary programs. Three students from the first Core Plus class in Seattle earned admission to baccalaureate universities.

One key to the successful launch of the Seattle program was Chris Names. Skilled shop teachers can be difficult to find. Chris is a very good one and will make good use of any support available – including that forklift.