Erin Van Bronkhorst, May 29, 2014, Puget Sound Business Journal
The Puget Sound region is one of 12 “manufacturing communities” selected by the Commerce Department to share $1.3 billion in federal funds intended to help with economic development.
Winners were chosen from among 70 communities that applied for the first round of funding through the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership. Another round of competition will launch later this year.
The Washington state effort will be led by the Puget Sound Regional Council, which developed a strategy focused on regional transportation, growth management and economic development. Four counties in Western Washington and three in Eastern Washington are considered part of the region in this application.
The council’s strategy includes adding 1,000 training slots in high-demand fields, identifying gaps in Boeing’s supply chain and working to attract investment in facilities that would be near Boeing final assembly sites, using research from Washington State University and the University of Washington to develop a biofuels industry, expanding railroad spurs to reduce truck congestion on freeways, supporting a system for airport maintenance, and expanding Spokane’s aerospace community by sponsoring two trade missions.
The council’s partners include the Boeing Co.; the city of Renton; state agencies; economic development councils of Tacoma-Pierce County, Seattle-King County, Grant County and Kitsap County; community colleges; and aerospace industry groups.
Here’s a list of the other winners in this round nationwide:
Southwestern Alabama, led by the University of South Alabama
Southern California, led by the University of Southern California Center for Economic Development
Northwestern Georgia, led by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission
The Chicago metro region, led by the Cook County Bureau of Economic Development
Southern Kansas, led by Wichita State University
Greater Portland region in Maine, led by the Greater Portland Council of Governments
Southeastern Michigan, led by the Wayne County Economic Development Growth Engine
The New York Finger Lakes region, led by the city of Rochester
Southwestern Ohio Aerospace Region, led by the city of Cincinnati
The Tennessee Valley, led by the University of Tennessee
The Milwaukee 7 Region, led by the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee
Besides federal funding, the winners will benefit from being branded as a “manufacturing community,” which should help attract additional private investment. The plans of each community reflect the program’s strategy of building on a community’s existing strength in manufacturing.