“The [aerospace] industry is changing in fundamental ways,” reveals the Washington Council on Aerospace’s (WCA’s) 2010 report to the Washington State governor and legislature. “Some of these changes, such as globalization and the shift among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) towards a more systems integration model, are beyond the influence of Washington state policy. These exogenous changes challenge policymakers and stakeholders to think outside the box on how to ensure the continued growth and international relevance of Washington State as a hub for aerospace activity.”
Washington State lawmakers are indeed thinking outside the box or, at least, ponying up some cash to reinforce the local aerospace market.
Just days ago, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire announced the availability of $3 million in funding as part of the Workforce Investment Act. Gregoire and other state officials anticipate the investment will provide education and training to nearly 500 workers and, thereby, strengthen Washington’s aerospace industry.
“The aerospace industry is now a globally competitive and ever-changing business,” says a Washington Aerospace Partnership official. “We need to build on our legacy of manufacturing the best jets in the world–and we need to do that by adapting to this new global marketplace. With our skilled workforce, strong local and state leaders, and an empowered community, we can make the decisions and investments necessary to remain the leader in aerospace. Given the challenging economy that countries and states are facing, the importance of and the jobs associated with aerospace will be ever more important.”
Roughly 650 aerospace companies operate in 28 counties of Washington State. In doing so, they support more than 200,000 jobs and pay more than $5 billion in wages. Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington (http://www.afa-wa.com/) offers a directory of Washington-based aerospace businesses; you can find it online at http://www.afa-wa.com/directory.pdf.
This geek applauds the efforts of officials in Washington and other states to buoy local industry, and strengthen the broader aerospace market as a whole. What is your state doing to this end? I invite you to drop me a line or comment below.