Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington wants to use $3 million in federal funds to go toward aerospace training in her state. Using the Workforce Investment Act funds, Governor Gregoire wants to re-train 500 workers and lead to the hiring of many more by encouraging education in aerospace technology and engineering.
Governor Gregoire has discretion over how to use 10% of the state's Workforce Investment Act money. This will be the first time she has ever used all of her discretionary money in one industry.
The majority ($1.6 million) will be spent on training and job placement, including training at the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center (WATR) in Renton, Paine Field, and Spokane. Some $1 million will go to training in specific areas such as fiber optics, precision machining, machine maintenance and quality assurance.
Equipment for the WATR center in Renton and the Inland Northwest Aerospace Technology Center in Spokane will receive $300,000 to aid in short-term training in aerospace manufacturing and general assembly.
Also, $100,000 will be used for the Aerospace Scholars Program to encourage students to study engineering. According to Gregoire, 77% of those who enroll in the program earn engineering degrees. The governor hopes that these newly trained workers will work for the 650 aerospace companies that are growing and adding new jobs.
Boeing has added almost 2,000 new employees in Washington this year. Boeing Co., who is looking to build 179 Air Force tankers, welcomed the news from Washington's Governor.
According to Ray Conner, the Vice President of the company's supply chain management, investments in the industry will help fund training opportunities and aid in the cooperation between the industry, the community, and universities.
Boeing is looking to hire thousands of new workers to help in the construction of the new tankers. Boeing may expand their employment expectations as the company considers replacing the 737 and 757 with a new commercial aircraft.
Washington is home to over 228,000 unemployed civilians. Gregoire hopes the program will enable those affected by the recession as well as low-income workers and veterans to find better-paying, stable jobs.
Key Players – Global Commercial and Military Flight Simulations Industry
- Alsim, AMI Instruments, Atlantis Systems International Inc., Boeing Training & Flight Services, BVR Systems, CAE, Cubic Defense Applications Group, ELITE Simulation Solutions, ETC Simulation's, FlightSafety International, Frasca International, HAVELSAN, L-3 Communications' Link Simulation and Training, Mechtronix Systems, Rockwell Collins Simulation & Training Solutions and Thales Training & Simulation