Manufacturing gets boost from public-private partnership

A pilot project sparked by the Manufacturing Communities partnership is helping to create jobs in the region.

Governor Insleee...

Governor Jay Inslee and Lake Forest Park Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford tour Jorgensen Forge.

This week Governor Jay Inslee, Puget Sound Regional Council and Impact Washington rolled out results of a pilot project that will save over $1 million annually for six defense manufacturers and will result in a total of 70 more jobs in one company alone.

The pilot tested whether the NextGen LEAN program could help small- and medium-size manufacturers bring costs down and cut production time so they can compete in the global marketplace.

“It worked! We added 20 jobs in the last 6 months since we began the NextGen LEAN process, and are hiring 10 to 15 more now. We expect to add a total of 50 more jobs in 2016,” Jorgensen Forge President Mike Jewell said.

Governor Jay Inslee and PSRC Economic Development District Board Vice President Catherine Stanford took a tour of the manufacturing facility this week.

“A key part of our Regional Economic Strategy is to grow jobs, and growing 70 new family-wage jobs in one company alone is a huge win,” said Stanford.  “The NextGen LEAN pilot is a stellar example of how public-private partnerships can make a difference to our regional economy.”

The pilot is part of Washington state’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designation.

PSRC administers the designation, which has helped bring in over $23 million for manufacturing-related programs and projects throughout the state, including $500,000 for this pilot project.

The pilot is funded by a federal grant awarded to the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Washington Military Alliance. Impact Washington, which serves as the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, implemented the pilot.

Jorgensen Forge is located in Tukwila and manufactures precision-machined products for diverse industries.

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Growth board takes up military facilities in regional planning

Military facilities like Joint Base Lewis McChord and Naval Base Kitsap are major contributors to the regional economy and have significant impacts on their local communities.

Sailors on the USS Nimitz at Naval Station Everett.

Sailors on the USS Nimitz at Naval Station Everett.

Today the Growth Management Policy Board looked at ways to address the role of military facilities in regional planning.

Board members expressed broad support for recognizing the regional economic impact of military facilities.

Staff was directed to have additional discussions with stakeholders and come back in March with options for the board to consider.

You can watch the discussion (starting at about 01:36).

The board also heard a briefing on potential legislative proposals related to growth management, discussed the industrial lands analysis report, and more.

You can watch the entire meeting video here.

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Region rallies to support JBLM

Support for Joint Base Lewis-McChord drew a big crowd today in Lakewood.

The U.S. Army held a listening session on potential reduction of 11,000 active duty and civilian contractors at JBLM.

PSRC President Pat McCarthy offering comments on regionwide impacts of potential reductions at JBLM.

PSRC President Pat McCarthy offering comments on regionwide impacts of potential reductions at JBLM.

It was a packed house.  People expressed broad concern about the economic impact of any reductions.  It was noted that JBLM has a bigger employment base than Boeing.   

Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy said JBLM jobs are not just important to Pierce County, but that losses would impact the entire region.

PSRC is a partner of the South Sound Military Partnership, which coordinates issues affecting military and civilian communities in the south Puget Sound area and is working to raise awareness and prepare for potential reductions at JBLM.

According to the Regional Economic Strategy, the military is a key employer, source of R&D support and driver of aerospace and maritime manufacturing in the region. The military provides more than $3.1 billion annually in total payroll to 91,000 people in the four-county area.

The military sector is one of the 10 industry clusters identified in the Regional Economic Strategy as offering outstanding potential for good-paying jobs and future growth.

PSRC’s Growth Management Policy Board is currently looking at the best ways to support military facilities through regional planning and funding programs.

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Recognizing military facilities in regional planning

PSRC has been asked to consider recognizing military facilities as employment centers for regional planning purposes.


The map shows the  estimated economic impact of the military cluster on Washington state.

PSRC prepared a paper assessing the issue and options for initial discussion at today’s Growth Management Policy Board meeting.

Washington state is home to one of the highest concentrations of military personnel, with the majority of personnel located at installations in the central Puget Sound region.

Of the 11 military bases in the state, eight are located in the central Puget Sound region.

In VISION 2040, there are 27 designated regional growth centers, and eight manufacturing-industrial centers.

Together, these two types of regional centers represent about 1 percent of the region’s land, but contain about 40 percent of the region’s employment. Centers are priority for PSRC’s transportation funding.

Federal funding restrictions prevent PSRC federal funds being used for projects physically located on military bases, and the military can’t be the sole sponsor of a project applying for funds.

However, the military can partner with any eligible jurisdiction or transit agency and submit any eligible project that provides access to the military facilities.

Formally recognizing the military facilities as centers would make projects providing access to military facilities more competitive for regional transportation funding.

Board members acknowledged the major economic, land use and transportation impacts of military facilities and will continue the discussion at their next meeting in November.

You can watch the discussion here.

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Manufacturing designation helps state’s defense sector

The Department of Defense has awarded $4.3 million to Washington state to sustain the state’s military and defense sector through reductions in defense spending.

Naval Station Everett

Naval Station Everett
The Regional Economic Strategy notes that the military cluster employs more than 92,000 people in the entire region – 56% of them within Pierce County.

The funding is the first success from the Manufacturing Communities designation the secured in May.

The designation gives aerospace related manufacturing in Washington priority in the chase for billions in federal grants.

“Jobs and the economy within each of the Puget Sound Regional Council’s four counties rely on a strong military and defense sector.  These grant funds will help sustain our military communities over the long term,” said Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, President of the Puget Sound Regional Council.

The DOD noted that approximately 80 percent of Washington’s defense suppliers are dependent on Boeing, and 35 of 39 counties host some type of defense supplier.

The state’s congressional delegation hailed the new funds.

Governor Inslee’s office noted that the military industry accounted for 136,000 jobs and $15.7 billion in economic activity in the state in 2012.

The Washington Military Alliance is key to supporting the work ahead, including: defense supply chain mapping and forecasting, developing economic diversification strategies, and assistance to businesses and workers impacted by reductions in defense spending.

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Governor affirms commitment to state’s military sector

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed an agreement launching the Washington Military Alliance and is asking the group to help prepare for the impacts of military downsizing.


The Washington Military Alliance represents the interests of a diverse military industry in the state.

Inslee noted that as of 2012, the state’s military industry accounted for 136,000 jobs and $15.7 billion in economic activity.

The military sector is one of the key industry clusters identified in the Regional Economic Strategy.

The Washington Military Alliance will provide a forum for collaboration in the state among local governments, military installations, state agencies and federal agencies.

It will serve as a policy adviser to the governor, other state agencies, the Legislature and others.

On Wednesday, Inslee signed a memorandum of understanding with more than 20 military, business and economic development organizations from every corner of the state, including PSRC.

The group will meet quarterly, starting later this month. Meetings will be open to the public.



Military Families and Veterans Action Summit

There are about 59,000 active duty military personnel stationed in the Puget Sound region – almost double the national average.

Helping military families succeed is one of the goals of the Regional Economic Strategy

Helping military families succeed is one of the goals of the Regional Economic Strategy

Already trained in key jobs ranging from aircraft mechanics to engineering and IT, they represent a valuable potential resource to the area’s employers when they leave the military, according to RJ Naugle  of Direct Technology in Bellevue.

But the actual transition from military to civilian life can be bumpy. That’s why the Regional Economic Strategy includes several action initiatives to make it easier for veterans to transfer their training and skills to civilian jobs, apprentice programs, colleges and universities. Recently, Senator Patty Murray convened a Military Families and Veterans Action Summit to bring together dozens of local organizations to help.

Workforce Development of Snohomish County‘s Sue Ambler says the summit comes at the right time.  As a veteran who left the military just a few months ago, WorkForce Central’s Shellie Willis says local programs can make transitioning to the civilian job market a lot easier.

Over 100 local and national leaders –including Washington State First Lady Trudi Inslee and a representative from Joining Forces, the White House initiative led by First Lady Michele Obama and Dr. Jill Biden – attended the Military Families and Veterans Action Summit.  The goal was to establish clear definitions of needs for Washington State military families and veterans and create a regional model that reduces barriers, increases access, and promotes efficiency.