The state of Washington has completed development of an economic planning model aimed at helping defense contractors, and state and local agencies respond to DOD spending cuts.
Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Tuesday unveiled the Defense Data Tool, which stemmed from the effort led by the Washington Military Alliance to address military downsizing. The model, funded by a $500,000 grant from DOD’s Office of Economic Adjustment, shows how changes in defense spending affect specific industries and occupations, down to individual counties, according to a press release.
The governor showcased the model during a visit to Jorgensen Forge, a machining company that contracts heavily with the Navy but has started expanding into the aerospace industry. The new tool is essential for companies such as Jorgensen because it allows them to anticipate reduced contracting opportunities and retool their workers or seek business elsewhere, said CEO Mike Jewell.
“The state’s foresight in actively planning for potential base closures and lower levels of military spending is helping companies like ours transform to survive what might otherwise be a potentially devastating business setback,” Jewell said.
“Our new Defense Data Tool provides detailed mapping of the specific industries and occupations that make up our defense manufacturing supply chain. Armed with that data, we can more effectively identify and target investments, such as the WorkStart funding for Jorgensen’s lean manufacturing system, to address potentially larger impacts of DOD downsizing in our communities,” said Kristine Reeves, the governor’s sector lead on military and defense economic development.
A $100,000 grant from the Washington WorkStart program established a master machinist training program intended to support Jorgensen’s adoption of lean manufacturing techniques. The planning tool was developed in collaboration with Reeves, local economic development leaders and members of the Washington Military Alliance.