Gov. Inslee’s budget makes significant investments in state workforce

OLYMPIA – Investments in workforce training programs are a significant part of Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed budget. Under his plan, more students will be able to enroll in programs, training facilities at community colleges will be upgraded, and the Career Connect Washington Plan will create expanded learning opportunities for K-12 students.

“The Choose Washington New Market Airplane Council strongly supports workforce investments that will benefit all Washington state industries, especially aerospace, and supports these opportunities for the next generation of students to access high-skill, high-wage jobs,” said NMA Council Co-chair Dr. Noel Schulz.

These program investments are strongly supported by educators and employers in a broad variety of industries, including aerospace, health care, maritime, advanced manufacturing and information technology. The state expects 740,000 new jobs in the next five years; the majority of those new jobs will require advanced education and training beyond high school.

“Gov. Inslee is making important investments in our workforce with this budget,” said NMA Council Co-chair Rick Bender. “We have the best trained aerospace workforce in the country, and to maintain that, we must have strong programs for both youth and adults. This budget opens the door to high-skilled jobs and keeps our aerospace sector strong.”

The highlights of the workforce budget align with the NMA Council’s workforce development strategy released in November. The proposed budget includes:

  • $22 million for increasing enrollment in K-12 and Community and Technical College programs associated with Career Launch programs, such as the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee (AJAC).
  • $18 million for facility and equipment upgrades. Students can’t train for new jobs on old equipment. The budget includes capital funding grants for equipment in K-12 schools and community and technical colleges, including aerospace technology.
  • $16 million for incumbent worker training, including specific funding for aerospace programs such as the Washington Aerospace Training and Research (WATR) Center.
  •  $7 million for system implementation, ensuring career and technical education credits can transfer effectively across institutions, as well as expansion of the CorePlus aerospace program.

“We have strong, effective programs in place, and this budget helps us increase both the capacity of programs and their quality for residents in Washington state,” added Council Co-chair Dr. Noel Schulz.

“Washington ranks high for training and education to support this industry.  However, we realize that to maintain our status as the world’s most competitive supercluster for aerospace manufacturing, we must continue to invest in programs that drive innovation and technology advancement,” said Robin Toth, Gov. Inslee’s aerospace sector lead at the Department of Commerce. “These programs will provide the skills employers need to lead the next generation of advanced manufacturing and strengthen communities throughout the state.”

These investments in workforce training come at a critical time for Washington. As the Baby Boomer generation retires, many industries are losing the experienced workforce they have relied on. These jobs support not just individuals and their families, but whole communities.

Aerospace is one example of how training programs help residents and the state’s economy. Aerospace and other related training programs provide a $15 return on every dollar, according to the Workforce Training Board. These programs also actively encourage and support a diverse talent pool, ensuring that these training programs open the doors for all Washington residents. They also address other barriers to entry for new workers, such as providing wraparound services like childcare and transportation.

Governor Jay Inslee created the Choose Washington NMA Council to lead a multi-pronged, broad-based, statewide effort to demonstrate Washington’s position as the site with the lowest risk and highest return on Boeing’s potential investment to design, produce, and assemble the next new Boeing airplane. The NMA Council is led by business, labor, education, economic development, and elected leaders.

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Contact: Penny Thomas, Commerce Communications, (206) 256-6106

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