State Legislators Tout Work on Aerospace Education at PNAA Luncheons, Discuss Need for More Progress on Business Incentives
Dave Pavelchek, Representative Norma Smith, Represenative Marcie Maxwell and Senator Jim Kastama discuss 2012 accomplishments.
During PNAA’s 2-hour Legislative Aerospace Update luncheons, members and legislators discussed a variety of hot-button aerospace issues including educating the workforce, the competition to become one of the FAA's UAV test site locations and the high cost of doing business in Washington State.
The legislators stated that the strongest work was done on the education side of the capital budget. They noted accomplishments with aviation biofuels, and indicated there was strong bipartisan support for $2.5 million to go toward Renton Center and the $1.5 million for WATR at Paine Field. However, they mentioned that more work needs to be done to address regulatory permitting and tax incentives to keep Washington businesses competitive.
At the Bellevue luncheon, Senator Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup and State Representatives Norma Smith, R-Clinton and Marcie Maxwell, D-Bellevue emphasized the importance of hearing from aerospace companies to ensure that the industry's needs are being met in Olympia. “Put together an agenda and don’t be bashful about it,” said Kastama. He urged PNAA to canvass its membership and identify three priority pieces of legislation to pursue in the next session of the Legislature, beginning in January. He noted that PNDC, INWAC and AFA represent their constituencies but that the supply chain feeding Boeing is not being heard through the resources currently advocating for aerospace in Olympia.
PNAA historically has not, by design, been active in Olympia. The Board welcomes input from our membership on Sen. Kastama’s suggestion. Rep. Smith requested stories of apprenticeships and asked what the legislature could do to help apprenticeship programs.
At the Spokane luncheon, Representatives Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, Bruce Chandler, R-Granger, Andy Billig, D-Spokane, and Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane focused on educating the next generation of aerospace workers. Conversations encompassing both K-12 and higher education reflected the frustration of finding and developing talented recruits with hands-on manufacturing skills and those with professional abilities. All the legislators echoed the same message regarding changes in the K-12 programs: if you want change to methods and curriculum you must be active at the school board levels to bring influence. While the legislature funds education, it does not develop and implement deliverable strategies for schools.
Dave Pavelchek, Research Manager for the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board attended both the Spokane and Bellevue luncheons and was interested in getting direct feedback from aerospace executives regarding the product of current workforce development strategies and defining future needs of the aerospace industry.
PNAA members are encouraged to contact their legislators and The Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board to provide feedback to help further aerospace in our region.
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Click here to contact Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board
Thank You 2012 Legislative Aerospace Update Sponsors