Innovative aerospace workforce and education strategy to be released by Governor’s Choose Washington NMA Council

Two independent studies recognize Washington’s unmatched aerospace workforce; New recommendations aim to meet industry demand for the next generation of top talent.  

GIG HARBOR, WA – Leaders of the effort to win design, production, and final assembly of Boeing’s potential new middle-market airplane (NMA) returned to Pierce County today, meeting at the newly opened Point Fosdick Antique Airplane Hangar.

The gathering comes on the heels of yet another report ranking Washington state #1 in the global aerospace industry. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) aerospace manufacturing attractiveness ranking gave Washington the top spot for its industry, infrastructure, economy, and workforce.

“We intend to keep aiming higher by building on our strengths and addressing opportunities identified in this and other independent rankings,” said Gov. Jay Inslee after release of the PwC report.

CEO of AIM Aerospace Daniele Cagnatel addressed the Council, reiterating why Washington is the best place for his business, “Washington is the heart of aerospace and the local workforce is our competitive asset.” AIM Aerospace is the Puget Sound region’s fourth-largest aerospace company with 850 workers supporting primary and secondary aerospace structures, unmanned aerial vehicles, interiors, systems, and engines. Earlier, the Washington State Department of Commerce announced $125,000 from Governor Inslee’s economic development strategic reserve account to assist expansion and job creation at AIM facilities in Pierce and King counties.

“AIM Aerospace is an important part of our industry supercluster. We have an incredibly dynamic ecosystem of suppliers that make Washington state the best place to design and build airplanes in the world,” said Brian Bonlender, Commerce director and board member of the Choose Washington NMA Council. “Encouraging innovation and growth strengthens communities where outstanding companies like AIM provide good jobs and economic security for all Washingtonians.”

Both the PwC report and the Teal Group report released in June gave the state top 10 finishes for education & labor. The Council recognizes that a highly-skilled workforce is key to the rising rates of productivity achieved by The Boeing Company and suppliers like AIM Aerospace.

Today, the NMA Council’s Workforce Development Work Group proposed an innovative workforce and education strategy for aerospace and advanced manufacturing. Co-led by Dr. David Beyer, Everett Community College President, and Chelsea Orvella, SPEEA Legislative Director, 25 education and training agencies and organizations helped develop the strategy.

“It’s no surprise Washington has the deepest pool of aerospace talent of any state. It reflects the incredible work happening at K-12, apprenticeship, community and technical college, and university levels to equip Washington youth and adults with highly competitive aerospace skills. I’m confident in and impressed by the vision our work group is bringing forward to grow these strengths well into the future” said co-lead Orvella.

Meeting since March, the work group assessed programs contributing to the state’s robust system of aerospace-related workforce development and identified 12 areas of improvement as part of a comprehensive strategy to grow aerospace careers and support the needs of aerospace companies.

The group is currently using its comprehensive strategy as a platform to develop a set of policy recommendations for consideration by the NMA Council. Strategy and policy recommendations are due to be released in October.

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

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