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King County Aerospace Alliance Announces Actions To Support WA Aerospace Industry

County Executive also releases new study that recommends six action areas needed to reinforce the region’s competitive advantage.

Loans to support expansion of small aerospace companies, streamlined permitting, and workforce navigators to guide students into good-paying aerospace careers, were among the actions called for today by King County Executive Dow Constantine and members of the King County Aerospace Alliance as part of a new regional strategy for job growth and prosperity.

"Renton is proud to be the home of the new 737 MAX, as well as the historic ramp-up in production of the 737 NG that is already taking place at Boeing’s Renton Plant,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “But we must continue to work together to make sure the Puget Sound region remains the best place for the aerospace industry to do business. By working across governmental lines, we can make our business climate more competitive while maintaining our region’s high quality of life."

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“This action plan is our roadmap to supporting our local aerospace industry with an infrastructure that is faster, stronger, and better,” said Executive Constantine, who first convened the Alliance. “We face global competition not only from legacy manufacturers in Europe, but from new, emerging manufacturers in places like Russia, Canada, China, and Brazil. To be competitive, we need to compete, as a region, on a global scale.”

Alliance members spoke Feb. 14 against the backdrop of the new Aviation Maintenance Technology hangar at South Seattle Community College, an Alliance member.

The Alliance’s Action Plan is guided by the findings of a new study produced by Accenture, also released today, that confirms the competitive advantage in aerospace this region enjoys, while detailing the commitment, momentum, and follow-through it will take from regional leaders to maintain that advantage.

The Executive was joined by Alliance members in outlining six key action steps to support jobs and prosperity:

  • Support the creation of new aerospace firms and technologies though a series of meetings with angel investors, venture capitalists, and university researchers to spur innovation with the creation of new firms and technologies. n support of this effort, Executive Constantine said King County will provide up to $2 million in below-market-rate loans to qualified aerospace companies, by leveraging federal block grants in the existing “Grow King County Fund” (Loans from this fund cannot be made to firms in Auburn, Bellevue, Kent and Seattle – cities with separate federal block grant funds ).
  • Remove barriers and speed the process of new investment. The King County Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) will establish a single point of contact to coordinate review and to process permit requests at the King County International Airport –commonly known as Boeing Field – and its aerospace customers. Seattle and King County will also pursue a pilot project to promote industrial development and job growth within the City and the urban unincorporated area of the County.
  • Develop a pipeline of trained aerospace students into the workforce. The Alliance will support creation of the next generation of machinists and engineers through a number of actions that promote today’s aerospace industry as an outstanding career choice for students.Marléna Sessions, CEO of the Workforce Development Council (WDC) of Seattle-King County said her group, for example, will work through youth programs to implement Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) skills programs that engage King County’s diverse communities and all students. The WDC will work with labor and K-12 school districts to identify the best practices for training and developing the workforce, and share those ideas across all grade levels and schools.
  • Coordinate our investments in mobility for freight and workers. The action plan calls for regional consensus to identify key roads investments that will fix traffic chokepoints, such as the interchange of I-405 and Highway 167. King County will also extend the F Line RapidRide route to Renton Landing and the Boeing Renton Plant. Capital finding for the project is in place, and the Alliance will partner with the County to secure operating funds.
  • Solidify our aerospace core to keep the jobs we have and create new ones. The action plan calls for development of an aerospace company database and an inventory of available industrial land; targeted recruitment of aerospace companies to fill gaps in King County’s supply chain; and marketing of King County at industry events.

"Renton is proud to be the home of the new 737 MAX, as well as the historic ramp-up in production of the 737 NG that is already taking place at Boeing’s Renton Plant,” said Renton Mayor Denis Law. “But we must continue to work together to make sure the Puget Sound region remains the best place for the aerospace industry to do business. By working across governmental lines, we can make our business climate more competitive while maintaining our region’s high quality of life."

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