Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Governor rolls out action agenda for aerospace industry

With a strong emphasis on enhancing our state's education system and workforce development, Governor Gregoire announced her strategy proposals today to ensure Washington remains the preeminent hub of aerospace design and manufacturing and keeps growing good-paying jobs.

The strategy developed by a partnership of business, labor and government leaders, was rolled out at Renton Technical College this morning.

“There is no question that Washington state is the best place in the world to build the Boeing 737-MAX jetliner,” Gregoire said. “And I believe that when all is said and done – Boeing will make the best decision and build this game-changing aircraft in this state. But I never take anything for granted – especially in a global market where business can go anywhere at a speed unknown even a decade ago.”

Gregoire’s proposal includes:
  • Investing $450,000 to expand the governor’s Launch Year program and provide 12 high schools with aerospace curriculum support to prepare high school students to enter the workforce. The investment would also provide two Skills Centers with aerospace manufacturing support to help train additional high school students;
  • Spending $250,000 to add “Project Lead the Way” courses at 10 high schools – courses where students learn to problem-solve using their science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills;
  • Putting $7.6 million toward expanding capacity at the University of Washington and Washington State University to enroll 775 more engineering students; and
  •  Investing $1.5 million, with additional support from companies, foundations and donors, to create a Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation at UW and WSU to support university research that will grow the aerospace sector and lead to new jobs in our state.
Gregoire also proposed creating a new Governor’s Aerospace Office to provide focus, direction, oversight and coordination to grow Washington state’s aerospace industry. The office will also gather industry intelligence to advise the governor in advancing Washington’s competitiveness nationally and globally.

Gregoire's plan also includes asking the Legislature to extend an existing aerospace tax incentive for pre-production expenses from 2024 to 2034 to realign the lifespan of the incentive to match the anticipated production duration of the 737-MAX.

Click here to read Gregoire's news release.  

For handouts and presentations, click here.