IT and aerospace lead industry cluster job growth in the region

A draft economic analysis for the region shows the employment levels in the Regional Economic Strategy’s industry clusters from 2008 to 2014.

The last six-years has meant significant changes in employment levels for the region's industry clusters.

The last six-years has meant significant changes in employment levels for the region’s industry clusters.

Five of the industry clusters have had increases in employment over the six-year period, the bulk of which occurred in Information Technology (24%) and Aerospace (12%).

The other clusters with employment growth were Tourism & Visitors, Maritime, and Transportation & Logistics, which grew by 5%, 2.7% and 1% respectively.

Four clusters had declines in employment since 2008. Clean technology dropped by nearly 17%, Military and Business Services by 7% a piece, and Life Sciences & Global Health (which includes Philanthropies) by almost 5%.

The analysis is being done to help launch the new Regional Economic Strategy.

Port of Port Angeles wins $2 million grant for composite recycling

The federal Manufacturing Communities designation continues to bring benefits to the state with preliminary approval of a $2 million federal grant for the Composite Recycling Technology Center in Port Angeles.

The Port's composite recycling center is expected to open in January 2016 and will house the CRTC and Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing – Composites program.

The Port’s facility will house the Composite Recycling Tech Center and Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing  – Composites program.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration grant would retrofit a building to house the center, which will be the first in the world to recycle uncured carbon fiber so it can be converted into other products.

“We are pleased that the federal Manufacturing Communities designation is paying off for our partners across the state,” said Josh Brown, PSRC executive director.

“This project is important to aerospace and other advanced manufacturers around the world who are looking for better things to do with unused carbon composite than put it in landfills.”

Carbon fiber composites are lightweight, super strong materials used to build everything from aircraft and automobile parts to golf clubs and surf boards.

PSRC led the effort to secure the federal Manufacturing Communities designation – one of only 12 in the country – that gives Washington partners priority status in applying for federal grants.

Just last month, Governor Jay Inslee committed $712,000 from the state’s Clean Energy Fund as a partial match for the project, which will lower greenhouse gas emissions  while delivering much needed jobs in Port Angeles and expand jobs across the state.

Tagged ,

New training center to boost aerospace manufacturing

Classes will soon get underway at the region’s newest aerospace training center.  The center is a key part of the state’s efforts to support aerospace manufacturing.

The new advanced training center will eventually be housed near the Renton Municipal Airport.

The new advanced training center will eventually be housed at the Renton Municipal Airport.

The new Washington Manufacturing Advanced Training Institute will hold its first class for a group of industry veterans on January 15.

Located in Renton, the training institute is focused on meeting a critical industry need for mid-level and master workers who understand supply chain management and “lean” techniques and how to apply those concepts to the manufacturing line.

The program was created in partnership with industry, the Aerospace Futures Alliance, the City of Renton, advanced industry content experts, and with capital funding from the Legislature.

The new training center emerged from a regional initiative to boost aerospace manufacturing. Last June the region secured a designation by the federal government as a manufacturing community, providing priority status in competition for billions in federal grants.



Clover Park Tech wins nearly $2.5 million for new mechatronics degrees

$2.49 million from the federal Department of Labor will help Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood establish a Mechatronics Technician degree program.


Clover Park Tech’s mascot Simon is smiling about new mechatronics degree

Vice President Joe Biden made the announcement this morning.

Clover Park’s win was boosted by the Manufacturing Communities designation secured in June.

The federal grants are designed for community and technical colleges to retrain students for high wage, high skill jobs.

The median wage for a mechatronics technician is about $27-32 an hour.

MT’s have skills in many crafts and work on robotic and other intelligent equipment.  Clover Park’s program is focused on aerospace.

Everett’s Aerospace Center for Excellence is also a winner from this round of grants, through a $9.9 million grant to Centralia College supporting centers of excellence in aerospace, clean tech and construction.

Tagged , ,

Alex Pietsch to lead state’s sector strategy

A familiar face from the region has assumed a new role at the state Department of Commerce – overseeing the state’s efforts to grow and improve jobs.


Alex Pietsch helped lead efforts to secure assembly of Boeing’s 777X and composite wing in the central Puget Sound region.

Alex Pietsch’s new title is: Director of Aerospace and State Sector Based Economic Development.

Pietsch will continue to lead the state’s aerospace office, where he had led in the development and implementation of the statewide aerospace strategy.

Prior to creating the aerospace office under two Governors, Alex led economic development for the City of Renton.

In announcing Alex’s expanded duties, state Commerce Director Brian Bonlender outlined the focus:

“on recruiting, retaining and expanding businesses; developing and driving policy, reducing regulatory barriers; and providing a single point-of-contact to help grow some of our state’s most critical industry sectors.”

Bonlender noted that the office is a critical component of Governor Inslee’s jobs plan and the state’s overall efforts to drive collaborative partnerships, effective public policy and efficient operations.

The state’s sector based economic strategy syncs up with the region’s economic strategy, which is developed by the PSRC and implemented by partners across the region.


Next steps on aerospace manufacturing designation

Fresh from winning a manufacturing designation a few weeks ago, PSRC recently met with Jay Williams, the new Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Jay Williams visited PSRC to learn about the region's aerospace manufacturing.

Jay Williams,  the new U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, formerly served as mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, and led economic recovery efforts in the Midwest for the Obama Administration.

Williams and PSRC staff talked about ways the region hopes to take advantage of the designation to fund aerospace manufacturing-related projects.

One of the first opportunities to benefit could be a $450 million federal job training program.

To facilitate the application process, PSRC has put together an online form that interested entities must fill out and submit three weeks before their grant deadline.

Only one organization per grant program is eligible for the preferred manufacturing community status.

Williams said that more details on the program are expected in the next three to four weeks.

Updates will be posted on the Manufacturing Community Designation web page. For more information, please contact Sarah Lee, Principal Economic Development Manager, at 206-971-3250 or


Tagged ,

Region wins manufacturing communities designation for aerospace

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced today that the central Puget Sound region was one of 12 communities nationwide winning a Manufacturing Communities designation as part of a federal initiative.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the region won a Manufacturing Communities designation.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced today the region won a Manufacturing Communities designation.

PSRC developed the proposal to designate the state’s aerospace industry. This special designation means strategic assistance and preferential status for two years on applications for $1.3 billion in federal grants.

“A century of aerospace leadership has taught this region that working together is the best path forward,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, President of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

“This will help our region become even more resilient as international competition grows fiercer every day, and will help keep the best manufacturing jobs in America.”

The U.S. Commerce Department-led program is designed to accelerate the resurgence of manufacturing in communities nationwide.

It supports the development of long-term economic development strategies that help communities attract and expand private investment in the manufacturing sector and increase international trade and exports.

The manufacturing designation helps support the aim of the Washington State Aerospace Strategy, PSRC’s Regional Economic Strategy and other economic strategies throughout the state to grow this key source of family-wage manufacturing jobs.

The application was a collaborative effort, receiving broad support from labor, industry, economic development organizations, education, and congressional partners across the state.

Tagged ,