Here's why state needs Boeing 737 MAX
November 21, 2011 · 3:15 PM
Courtesy of the Renton Reporter:
Gov. Chris Gregoire launched the state’s efforts to build the 737 MAX in Washington, proposing to spend millions of dollars to educate and train the future workers of the aerospace industry in the state.
The $9.8 million investment in the aerospace training will go before the state Legislature.
The reason for Gregoire’s Nov. 16 appearance at a worker-training classroom at Renton Technical College was the release of an Aerospace Competitiveness Study that formed the basis for the state’s efforts to keep the 737 MAX production in Washington.
Eight other states are vying for the right to build the new 737. Boeing will make its decision in the next few months.
“There is no question that Washington state is the best place in the world to build the Boeing 737 MAX jetliner,” Gregoire said. She called the 737 MAX a game-changing aircraft in this state with its thousands of new jobs.
Every 737 in service today made its maiden voyage from Boeing’s production plant in Renton. Gregoire praised the Renton plant, but as governor she’s trying to keep the 737 MAX production at least somewhere in the state.
Gregoire’s proposal places heavy emphasis on enhancing the state’s education system, starting with the earliest grades. At the college level, she’s proposing to use $7.6 million to add 775 more engineering students at the University of Washington and Washington State University.
At the high school level, she wants to add an aerospace program at 12 schools and provide two Skills Centers to train high school students. She stressed the importance of improving math and science skills at all levels.
The end result is preserving and adding family wage jobs in the state, she said. There are 110,000 aerospace jobs in Washington and the 80,000 jobs at Boeing.
The state has 650 companies that support Boeing’s plants, the largest such concentration of aerospace suppliers in the world.
“We must go after it,” Gregoire said of the 737 MAX production. “It is a call for all hands on deck. It is likely the largest manufacturing contract in the world for at least a decade.”
On Nov. 18, Boeing and Jakarta-based Lion Air announced a commitment for the airline to order 201 737 MAXs and 29 Next-Generation 737-900 ERs (extended range), according to The Boeing Co.
The agreement also includes purchase rights for an additional 150 airplanes.
With 230 airplanes at a list price of $21.7 billion, this deal when finalized will be the largest commercial airplane order ever in Boeing’s history by both dollar volume and total number of airplanes.