LYNNNWOOD – At the annual conference of the Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance meeting at the Lynnwood Convention Center, Washington’s new governor is unveiling plans to keep aerospace jobs growing in the state.
Gov. Jay Inslee says Washington is supporting a cluster of more than 1200 companies tied to aerospace employing more than 131,000 people.
According to PNAA, an organization representing a region including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and British Columbia, some 650 companies make parts for new jets, and not just for Boeing. The Pacific Northwest is now Airbus’ second largest supplier cluster in north America.
“It’s clearly an aerospace hub, with a huge capability. Lots of technology that can be offered to any manufacturer," said David Williams, Vice President for procurement at Airbus Americas, Inc.
Airbus has been buying parts here for years now, and when it finishes a new factory that will actually build jets in Mobile, Alabama is likely to buy more, says Williams.
But most of the work is still going to Boeing, and many companies supply parts for both airplane builders and say that helps lower part prices.
Inslee says he’s designing a package of changes to create more aerospace jobs, and train qualified people to fill them. The governor wants to see the state create more grants for STEM education to continue building a qualified work force to hold jobs at Boeing or the state’s growing supplier network. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Inslee also wants to see changes in state tax laws to make Washington competitive in the business of storing airplanes in the deserts of Eastern Washington that he says are ideal for mothballed fleets or older jets. For decades, most of that business has gone to Arizona and California