SEATTLE (AP) — Don't take Boeing Co. jobs for granted, says Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire.
As the company decides where to assemble the 737 MAX, Gregoire is recommending investments in educating and training an aerospace workforce to keep those jobs in the state.
The investments announced at a news conference Wednesday at Renton Technical College:
— $7.6 million for the University of Washington and Washington State University to enroll 775 more engineering students.
— $1.5 million toward aerospace research at the UW and WSU.
— $450,000 to provide 12 high schools with aerospace curriculum support.
— $250,000 to add courses at 10 high schools for problem-solving using science, technology, engineering and math skills.
Boeing announced in August it would put new engines on the 737 to improve fuel efficiency and compete with the Airbus A320neo. Boeing is expected to announce next year where the MAX will be assembled.
Boeing has more than 80,000 workers in Washington, mostly at the 737 factory in Renton and the wide-body plant in Everett where the 747, 767, 777 and 787 are assembled.
But the state no longer has the hold on Boeing it once had. Boeing moved its headquarters in 2001 to Chicago and in 2009 the company decided to build another 787 assembly plant in South Carolina.
In June, Gregoire launched Project Pegasus with the idea of landing the work on the replacement for the workhorse 737.
In October, King County Executive Dow Constantine announced an alliance of government, business and labor to keep Boeing jobs in the Seattle area. Constantine announced a $100,000 competitive study and $30,000 to Project Pegasus.