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Snohomish County grant aims to help uplift local aerospace companies

(Photo courtesy of Boeing)

In the month of May alone, Snohomish County lost 6% of its aerospace manufacturing jobs — 2,500 positions.

Now, the county wants to give the industry a boost as it navigates the turbulence of COVID-19.

The Aerospace Employment Recovery & Training Program provides businesses with up to $250,000 in training to help re-integrate furloughed workers, minimize layoffs, and deal with the various challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic.

“With the travel industry slowing down, the challenges posed by COVID-19 in the aerospace and travel-related industries is significant … This funding really is to focus on improving their competitiveness and their ability to retain their workers,” said Joy Emory, president and CEO of nonprofit Workforce Snohomish.

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Funding for the grant came out of the CARES Act; Emory said the grant is designed to help any company struggling due to COVID-19.

This comes just as Boeing is in the midst of a plan to cut 10% of its worldwide workforce.

But Emory said Snohomish County’s aerospace imprint goes far beyond the airplane tycoon.

“Boeing’s multiplier effect in the suppliers in the county are a significant part of our local economy, … this program is specifically focused on local aerospace firms, and we know that that’s a significant portion of our county’s employment,” she said.

This includes “maintenance, repair, and overhaul of engines, manufacturing of commercial aircraft parts, assembly and repair.”

In 2018, nearly half of all aerospace jobs in Washington were found at 200 firms in Snohomish County, according to Economic Alliance Snohomish County.

“The future of aerospace in Snohomish County is strong, but we need to provide the support, and we’re doing that,” Emory said.

Any Aerospace employer that has been in business in Snohomish County for a year or more will be eligible for the grant. Having received previous government aid during the pandemic will not disqualify a company.

The application is due Friday at 5 p.m. To learn more or apply, visit WorkforceSnohomish.org/snocotraining.

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