News Releases

Cantwell, Murray Applaud Federal Designation of Washington Aerospace Economy as ‘Manufacturing Community’

May 28 2014

U.S. Commerce Department selects Washington aerospace cluster for new initiative to invest in manufacturing supply chains

Cantwell, Murray backed Washington state application, in letter last month

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded Washington state’s aerospace community for being selected as one of 12 “manufacturing communities” under the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s new Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP).

Cantwell wrote an April 10 letter in support of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s application to designate the Washington State Aerospace Manufacturing Community as manufacturing community under IMCP. Murray also wrote a letter of support for the designation to the Economic Development Administration.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker announced the first 12 designees today. The Commerce Department launched the initiative in 2013 to help revitalize American manufacturing and revolutionize how federal agencies leverage economic development investment. Up to $1.3 billion in economic development funds and assistance from 11 federal agencies is available through the initiative.

“Washington state is an international leader in aerospace manufacturing and aerospace jobs,” Cantwell said. “This investment will help our aerospace manufacturing cluster develop a coordinated strategy to stay on the cutting edge in a competitive global marketplace. That means investing in workforce training, advanced materials and cost-saving biofuels.  With an estimated global demand for 35,000 new planes and 200,000 workers over the next 20 years, we have a tremendous opportunity. This designation will help keep Washington state at the forefront of the 21st Century commercial aviation industry.”

“This designation is great news for our state’s aerospace industry,” Murray said. “I applaud the Administration for recognizing Puget Sound Regional Council’s ongoing efforts to further the region’s economic development.  This designation will allow the Washington Aerospace Manufacturing Community to leverage public and private investments to ensure the industry is ready to meet future challenges on a global scale.”

PSRC’s strategy includes plans to add 1,000 training slots in high-demand fields and building a 37,000-square foot Advance Manufacturing Training and Education Center. The strategy also includes evaluating community and technical college programs, mapping gaps in Boeing’s supply chain and leveraging research from Washington State University and the University of Washington on aviation biofuels to develop a commercially viable biofuels industry.

The initiative is designed to reward communities that best highlight strengths and demonstrate they can combine their efforts around workforce training, infrastructure and research centers to implement an economic development plan that will attract, retain and expand manufacturing investments.

These communities will also receive a dedicated federal liaison at each of these agencies that will help them navigate available federal resources. They will also be recognized on a government website, accessible to prospective private foreign and domestic investors, looking for information on communities’ competitive attributes.

The other 11 manufacturing communities selected are:

  • The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission (Dalton, Georgia)
  • Wichita State University (Wichita, Kansas)
  • Cook County Bureau of Economic Development (Chicago, Illinois)
  • University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tennessee)
  • University of South Alabama (Mobile, Alabama)
  • City of Rochester (Rochester, New York)
  • University of Southern California Center for Economic Development (Los Angeles, California)
  • Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee (Milwaukee, Wisconsin)
  • Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Great Portland Council of Governments (Portland, Maine)

With more than 132,000 workers and 1,350 aerospace-related companies, the Washington Aerospace Manufacturing Community is the largest and most robust aerospace cluster in the world.