Filling in the gaps

Francisco Perez envisioned himself in the medical field, but that all changed when he took a metal shop class at Pullman High School his freshman year.  Now, Perez is the only student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Lewis-Clark State College’s welding program.

Perez, 21, of Pullman, already has his associate degree in welding.  Once he graduates in spring 2020, he plans to join a boilermakers union in Seattle — a city with a population that’s exploding.  He’d like to dabble in every branch of welding, from the aerospace and jetboat industry to pipeline and structural welding, one day furthering his skills to also try hyperbaric, or underwater, welding.  “I’ve met a lot of people who don’t seem to think it’s important,” Perez said. “But we build the world, really. Anything from bridges to buildings to boats, so I feel we have a pretty big responsibility to provide people with safe infrastructure and safe products for either personal use or industrial use.”

As industries struggle to fill high-wage trade jobs, there is a big demand for students like Perez.  Each of LCSC’s about 30 career and technical programs has an advisory committee that reviews curriculum and makes sure students are learning the skills they need to be successful in their future career.  And all have expressed a need for more workers, according to Jeff Ober, dean of career and technical education at LCSC.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere there’s not a high demand,” he said.


The gap between skilled workers and available jobs is expected to grow, with fields like health care, manufacturing and natural resources struggling to get the workers they need.


About Timmothy Boettcher

Business Career Originally recruited in 1998 as a software engineer to design and develop cutting edge technology for new products, Mr. Boettcher assumed leadership for Research and Development and then Engineering before being named President of Realityworks in 2005. Responsible for total operations, he has driven significant understanding of market opportunities, gatekeepers, and funding in education, healthcare, and public service markets; bolstered production and supply chain efficiencies; acquired and launched new age technology; rebuilt leadership competencies; led growth into the Company’s over 65% US school system and over 90 country presence; and led the implementation of the Company’s ESOP to build on the societal mission of the Company and further the family oriented culture to reward employees for their success in achieving the mission and efforts to drive growth. Focused on high market growth, he has led the Company’s turnaround and achieved double-digit top line growth simultaneously with dramatic profit and cash flow improvement. Mr. Boettcher brings more than twenty years of engineering, product development, and global operations experience in education, advanced technology, manufacturing, and distribution industries. Prior to joining Realityworks, he held positions at Cray Research, a leading manufacturer of the world’s fastest supercomputers and Wal-Mart Distribution, the world’s leader in distribution and logistics. Professional & Community Activities Mr. Boettcher is passionate about building effective connections between our countries workforce development system, economic development programs, and education infrastructure. A solid connection between these systems is needed to ensure our youth and workforce are prepared to be global competitive and ready to take on the challenges and needs faced by industry. In delivering on this passion Mr. Boettcher: - has presented workforce development strategies on the national level for Harvard’s Pathway’s to Prosperity, U.S. Department of Labor, and at many Career and Technical Education events. - established and currently chairs the Industry Workforce Needs Council (IWNC), a national level group of industry leaders that works directly with education to increase support for Career and Technical Education in the country in alignment with industry needs. - served on the Board of Directors for the Association for Career and Technical Education. - chaired the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (Chair) to help establish and lead regional workforce development initiatives. - established and led the Innovation Foundation of Western Wisconsin (Chair) to help bring critical C-level talent to start-ups and small to mid-sized companies to help them grow. - served on the Board for the Eau Claire Economic Development Corporation (President). - and provides guidance to institutions like the International Business Programs Advisory Council of the University of Wisconsin (Eau Claire). Mr. Boettcher also holds seven U.S. and foreign patents.

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