Snohomish County aviation companies received $3 million in federal grants

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EVERETT — Nine Snohomish County aerospace companies will soon see an additional $3 million in their bank accounts, thanks to a federal program that will help keep 185 workers on the payroll.

A third round of Aviation Industry Jobs Protection Program grants was awarded this week to companies across the United States.

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s competitive program is tied to the Biden administration’s U.S. bailout, which was launched last spring.

Money is badly needed.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s aviation industry employed around 2.2 million people. Washington’s aerospace industry has supported 130,000 jobs and produced 1,400 aircraft and satellite systems. Annual exports totaled $50 billion.

The pandemic and subsequent decline in air travel has deeply affected the aviation manufacturing, maintenance, repair and overhaul industries. At some companies, revenues have fallen by 50% or more, forcing mass layoffs.

Since then, 100,000 jobs in the US aerospace industry have been lost, including 30,000 in Washington, said US Senator Maria Cantwell, who led an effort to secure funding for the jobs protection program. Cantwell chairs the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.

“Once high-skilled jobs leave a community, it’s not easy to get them back,” Cantwell said in a statement. “Supporting aerospace manufacturing employers during an unprecedented downturn in the aviation industry is not only the right thing to do, it’s the best way to maintain diversity and prosperity in local economies.

So far, the competitive grant program has awarded $57 million to 68 aircraft manufacturers across Washington, saving $3,200 works. Of the total, $28 million was awarded to 27 Snohomish County businesses, saving about 1,500 jobs.

The state is home to more than 1,500 aerospace companies, including some 200 in Snohomish County.

Round three grant recipients include Global Machine Works, which received $500,000 that was expected to save 24 jobs. The Arlington company manufactures aircraft components. In Everett, aerospace parts maker Royell Manufacturing received $756,000, protecting 47 jobs.

The health of the aerospace supply chain is critical to the nation’s aviation industry as a whole, Cantwell said.

“We need to continue to focus on our airline industry, which essentially accounts for around 5% of our GDP,” Cantwell said. “We have to focus on aircraft construction.”

The Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection program provides up to $3 billion to help businesses in the aircraft manufacturing and repair industry. Since the program’s inception, it has provided $673 million in payroll protection support, saving approximately 31,000 jobs in the United States.

The first and second rounds of Aviation Jobs Protection funding were announced last year in September and November, respectively.

More than half of the 593 companies that have received program funds are small businesses with fewer than 100 employees, according to the Department of Transportation.

Job protection grants can be used to pay half the salary of specific aerospace employees for up to six months. In return, the company must document the expenses and agree not to lay off or lay off these workers during the six-month period.

The broader U.S. bailout includes $15 billion in payroll support for passenger air carriers and contractors, as well as $8 billion in economic aid to U.S. airports.

Janice Podsada: 425 339-3097; [email protected]; Twitter: @JanicePods.


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