Manufacturing gets boost from public-private partnership

A pilot project sparked by the Manufacturing Communities partnership is helping to create jobs in the region.

[caption id="attachment_8568" align="alignleft" width="300"]Governor Insleee... Governor Jay Inslee and Lake Forest Park Deputy Mayor Catherine Stanford tour Jorgensen Forge.[/caption]

This week Governor Jay Inslee, Puget Sound Regional Council and Impact Washington rolled out results of a pilot project that will save over $1 million annually for six defense manufacturers and will result in a total of 70 more jobs in one company alone.

The pilot tested whether the NextGen LEAN program could help small- and medium-size manufacturers bring costs down and cut production time so they can compete in the global marketplace.

“It worked! We added 20 jobs in the last 6 months since we began the NextGen LEAN process, and are hiring 10 to 15 more now. We expect to add a total of 50 more jobs in 2016,” Jorgensen Forge President Mike Jewell said.

Governor Jay Inslee and PSRC Economic Development District Board Vice President Catherine Stanford took a tour of the manufacturing facility this week.

“A key part of our Regional Economic Strategy is to grow jobs, and growing 70 new family-wage jobs in one company alone is a huge win,” said Stanford.  “The NextGen LEAN pilot is a stellar example of how public-private partnerships can make a difference to our regional economy.”

The pilot is part of Washington state’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership designation.

PSRC administers the designation, which has helped bring in over $23 million for manufacturing-related programs and projects throughout the state, including $500,000 for this pilot project.

The pilot is funded by a federal grant awarded to the Washington State Department of Commerce’s Washington Military Alliance. Impact Washington, which serves as the state’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, implemented the pilot.

Jorgensen Forge is located in Tukwila and manufactures precision-machined products for diverse industries.