Governor boosts funds for aerospace training

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has made a one-time allocation of $1.5 million toward improving aerospace training programs in the state.GregoireEverett 2

The governor made the announcement last week at Everett Community College. “We must be as skilled as we can be in the newest techniques and technology,” she said. “We must recruit new workers, and we need to make sure the workforce we currently have has cutting-edge skills.”

The biggest chunk of the money will go to newly established aerospace training programs in Everett and Spokane, and to buy new equipment for aerospace programs at the state’s community colleges, Gregoire said. Some funds will be spent to expand programs to encourage school children to consider careers in the industry, developed by directors at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

“We are investing in our people, but we’re also investing in our future,” she said, adding that “$1.5 million in the midde of the worst recession since the ’30s is significant.”

Gregoire said Washington is already a global leader in aerospace. While places like South Carolina are still trying to figure out how to establish training programs and regulations that support the industry, Washington is fine-tuning an infrastructure that already works. “This is an indication to Boeing of our continuing commitment,” the governor said. “We’ve got to make sure the climate is good, not just for Washington, but for every other company in the industry.”

Gregoire also took a swipe at South Carolina, noting that her state was recently ranked No. 2 in the annual Forbes magazine list of state business climates. Washington also gets high scores for its education system and quality of life, she noted. South Carolina, on the other hand, “rated No. 49,” she said. “You want to live there, or you want to live here? We want to live here.”

District 751 agrees with the Governor and supports her efforts, Legislative Director Larry Brown said.

“We’re working hard to make this an attractive place, and the right place to do business,” he said. “Machinists do that every day.”

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