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Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Invests $2.8 Million to Support Workforce Development Efforts in Klickitat County, Washington

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $2.8 million grant to Klickitat County, Washington, to develop an aviation maintenance training facility at Columbia Gorge Regional Airport and provide related infrastructure improvements, including water, sewer, and electrical services.

This project will provide the resources and infrastructure necessary to better prepare students for in-demand, good-paying jobs in aviation maintenance. The EDA investment will be matched with $700,000 in local funds and is expected to help create 70 jobs, retain 53 jobs, and generate $6 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates.

“The Biden Administration is committed to creating new opportunities for workers throughout the United States,” said Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. “This EDA investment will support Klickitat County as it works to expand workforce development programs and ensure that residents have the skills they need to compete for good-paying jobs in the aviation industry.”

“The Economic Development Administration plays an important role in supporting locally-developed strategies designed to catalyze workforce development efforts,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Y. Castillo. “This EDA investment will strengthen and diversify the vocational opportunities available to Klickitat County residents, while attracting private investment and advancing economic resiliency.”

“Washington’s aerospace and aviation industry has a long history of providing jobs in counties all across our state, from engineers and pilots to machinists and inspectors,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “I appreciate the EDA’s support for the community’s efforts to train and employ more people looking for a good-paying career in aviation.”

“Investing in workforce development doesn’t just help workers gain new skills, get better jobs, and support their families – it also helps businesses grows and keeps our economy competitive globally. That’s exactly what this investment for Columbia Gorge Regional Airport will do,” said Senator Patty Murray. “This project will prepare workers for high-quality, good-paying jobs in aviation maintenance, help address the aviation mechanic shortage and improve the airport’s infrastructure to better the Klickitat County community.”

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA invests in communities and supports regional collaboration in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.

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