Gluesenkamp Perez Announces Teacher of Trades as Guest at State of the Union Address


On Monday, 3rd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Washougal, announced that Kalama teacher Cory Torppa will be her guest at President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night.

Torppa teaches construction, engineering design and manufacturing at Kalama High School and has more than 18 years of experience preparing students for careers in the trades, according to a news release from the office of Gluesenkamp Perez.

Torppa also serves as the Kalama School District’s career and technical education director and the advisor for Kalama High School’s SkillsUSA chapter, where students learn technical skills in preparation for competition and network with skilled trades professionals.

According to the release, Torppa has earned many awards and distinctions throughout his career. Last year, he was awarded the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence and won $100,000 for Kalama High School’s technical education program.

“Supporting career and technical education programs is key to rebuilding the American workforce, but too many students are still told that a college degree is the only path to a successful future,” Gluesenkamp Perez stated. “Mr. Torppa is opening so many doors for Kalama students to pursue good-paying, high-demand careers in the trades while making sure they're having fun along the way. It's an honor to host him for the State of the Union and to thank him for the work he does every single day."

Gluesenkamp Perez worked in the trades before coming to Congress and co-founded a small, independent auto repair and machine shop with her husband, Dean.