New NIC Aerospace Facility Provides Big Opportunities For Future - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

New NIC Aerospace Facility Provides Big Opportunities For Future Workers

Many turned out for the ribbon cutting of the new Aerospace Center For Excellence In Hayden On Thursday Many turned out for the ribbon cutting of the new Aerospace Center For Excellence In Hayden On Thursday

Students and faculty from North Idaho College, along with representatives from around the state, gathered in Hayden Thursday morning to officially cut the ribbon on the new Aerospace Center For Excellence. It's a facility many hope will create new opportunities for generations to come.

Spencer Rhodes moved to North Idaho in April after finishing a term in the United States Army. Two months ago, he began classes in the Aerospace Composite Program, which is housed in the Aerospace Center.

"It is good to have the opportunity to get paid to do something I enjoy for a change," Rhodes said.

The center will be Rhode's home away from home for the next six months, as he prepares for a career in the aerospace industry. The program teaches a range of skills.

"For a composite, what we're learning is how to fabricate carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar parts for structural parts and for airplanes," Rhodes explained.

Dozens gathered Thursday morning to celebrate the new facility. Even Gov. Butch Otter made the trip up north from Boise. He addressed the crowd from the podium.

"We need to keep the faith, not only in our system, and what we can do, and the optimism that we have," Gov. Otter told the group. "But also in what's possible for the next generation to do."

For Gov. Otter, the significance of the Aerospace program is obvious. It will create jobs and prepare its students to find work in a booming industry.

"How many times before has a young student ever been able to decide right here in Northern Idaho that they wanted to go into the Aerospace industry," Gov. Otter said. "It's just never happened before."

But for Spencer Rhodes, his new home may just help him reach his American Dream.

"This program to me is an opportunity to be able to settle here in North Idaho and raise my family here," Rhodes said. "I'm hoping to buy land up here, and this is where I want to raise my kids. Being able to get into this industry gives me the ability to do that."

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