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Gov. Gregoire announces $3 million to support aerospace training programs

For Immediate Release: May 17, 2011

Gov. Chris Gregoire today, joined by leaders in the aerospace industry, announced $3 million in Workforce Investment Act funds to help nearly 500 workers learn the skills necessary for our aerospace industry to thrive and expand in Washington state. Gregoire made the announcement at Boeing’s factory in Renton.

“I want to make sure that Washington jobs are filled by Washington workers,” Gregoire said. “This investment is a double win for Washington state. It helps those individuals negatively impacted by the national recession receive training to move toward a stable and good-paying career. And it ensures our aerospace workers have the cutting-edge skills needed to design, build and maintain the aircraft of tomorrow – helping our 650 aerospace companies grow and create new jobs.”

Gregoire has discretion over a percentage of the state’s WIA funds. To ensure Washington state maintains its talented aerospace workforce, which is a key competitive advantage in the aerospace sector and essential to its continued growth, Gregoire is making investments to help individuals develop the skills needed by aerospace employers.

Of the $3 million for aerospace training programs:
• $1.6 million will increase training opportunities, ensuring those seeking an aerospace career receive industry-specified training, including pre-screening and post-training placement services
• $1 million will buy the equipment, classroom space and program development materials to train as many as 180 students in key areas like machine maintenance, precision machining, quality assurance and inspection, and fiber optics
• $300,000 will purchase equipment for the Renton Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center and the Inland Northwest Aerospace Technology Center in Spokane to support short-term aerospace manufacturing and general assembly training
• $100,000 will be used to recruit the next generation of engineers by encouraging more than 100 high school students to take part in the Washington Scholars Program. Of those that participate in the program, 77 percent choose to earn an engineering degree in college.

“These efforts allow us to tailor the training to the worker, the industry and the region,” Gregoire said. “I have directed the state Employment Security Department to engage with those looking for work and help them get training and apply for aerospace jobs. We’ll especially reach out to returning veterans and low-income workers seeking a living-wage job.”

“We work in a dynamic and increasingly competitive business environment making the governor’s announcement welcome news to Boeing,” said Ray Conner, vice president and general manager for Supply Chain Management and Operations at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “Our shared success depends on having skilled and talented people ready to step in and build not only the world's leading jetliners, but also a future that will make us all proud. These investments will fund training opportunities and allow for better alignment between business, our community and technical colleges. Most importantly, it will energize students who want exciting, high-paying jobs that we are creating in Washington state.”

“These workforce investment dollars are the kind of public/private partnerships we need for the aerospace industry to continue to thrive in Washington State. We are excited to be a partner in this venture going forward with Boeing, the Governor, our education system, and our community,” said Tom Wroblewski, president of the Machinists Union District Lodge 751.

“As a result of the Governor’s investment, Renton Technical College will be able to offer skills training for the Aerospace Manufacturing Core Certificate and the Aerospace Assembly Mechanic Certificate,” said Steve Hanson, president of Renton Community College. “Students will use the online content and will complete their hands-on training at facilities located on the RTC campus. The Governor’s allocation will provide the equipment and the instruction to get people trained and into jobs in aerospace.”