Connecting Aerospace Interests

December 29, 2014

Contacts:  Penny Thomas, Communications Office, 360-725-2805

State awards $100K training grant to help aerospace supplier ramp up in Burlington
Hexcel adding advanced manufacturing jobs to meet demand for composite components

OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced a $101,000 WorkStart grant to Northwest Workforce Council to help Hexcel Corporation train employees at their newly expanded facility in Burlington. The Strategic Economic Development grant is complemented by a 20 percent cash match from the company.

This business expansion project is supported by a broad partnership that includes Hexcel Burlington, Northwest Workforce Council, Economic Development Association of Skagit County, Skagit Valley College and Green River Community College. These entities came together in a collaborative effort to promote quality manufacturing jobs in the local Burlington community. New aerospace product orders are driving job growth, primarily in Hexcel’s composite laminating and autoclave operations.

“Demand for workers with unique skill sets required to serve the global aerospace industry has accelerated since Boeing made the decision to locate the 777x program and its composite wing production here in Washington. Bringing together our community colleges, workforce training, and state economic development resources to provide employer-driven customized training programs is strengthening our state’s capacity to serve the composite materials sector worldwide,” Gov. Jay Inslee said.

“Companies serving aerospace and other industry sectors that are using more advanced carbon fiber composites need a workforce with very specialized skills, often unique to their particular production processes. The WorkStart program is designed to get workers ready to go and on the floor with the necessary expertise quickly and cost-effectively,” said Commerce Director Brian Bonlender.

“Hexcel is very pleased to benefit from this grant. By providing funding to train our work force, it is another great step for Washington State’s drive to be a center of excellence for aerospace,” said Jim Collins, Hexcel Plant Manager.

Hexcel Burlington employees will gain portable, industry-based credentialing in advanced manufacturing skills sought throughout the region and the industry. Since 2013, 11 companies throughout Washington State have used WorkStart to train 714 employees.

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About Commerce

Commerce is the lead state agency charged with enhancing and promoting sustainable community and economic vitality in Washington. For more information, visit www.commerce.wa.gov. For information on locating or expanding a business in Washington, visit www.choosewashington.com.