Pierce County is pleased to announce a new program responding to the shortage of skilled workforce available to our local aerospace sector called the Aerospace Job Creation and Training (AJCT) loan program. Aerospace industry employers filling new jobs with low- to moderate-income individuals can qualify for permanent working capital loans of up to $35,000 for each new position created to assist with wages and training costs. This will enable workers where industry experience is required to more quickly develop needed skills. The greatest benefit to the employer is that the entire loan can be forgiven if the new employee remains with the company for one year after the initial hire date.
Created by the Pierce County Community Development Corporation, the AJCT program is aimed at proactively addressing one of the industry’s most pressing issues and strengthening our local aerospace businesses.
"Aerospace is a mainstay of our economy, and we are committed to supporting local companies in the competitive global marketplace by creating a steady workforce," said Pat McCarthy, Pierce County Executive. Communities across the country realize the value of our companies and spend considerable effort attempting to lure them away. This program is one way Pierce County demonstrates that we value them as well.
Local firms have been constrained from expanding by the lack of qualified workers and the added expense of inexperienced workers. “We created this program because new employees are less productive and it takes training and additional supervision to ensure quality work,” according to Joe Phillips, Aerospace Specialist with Pierce County. “We expect that the AJCT program will help more projects pencil out, allowing companies to seek new opportunities and add new staff.”
Certain eligibility conditions need to be met for companies to qualify for the funding. Any new job must be created in a facility located within Pierce County and a starting wage must be at least $13/hour. Companies will need to have been in business for a minimum of two years and be classified as a manufacturer or a processor for hire in the aerospace industry. The company must also be able to demonstrate they have had difficulty finding qualified employees for open positions. Unfortunately, business locations within the cities of Tacoma, Lakewood or Bonney Lake are not eligible for the program.
Employees eligible for the new positions must qualify under the Housing and Urban Development Department’s low to moderate income guidelines. For employers having difficulty locating qualified workers, our partners at Workforce Central have offered their assistance to find and screen individuals for the income guidelines as well as offering to assess candidates’ aptitude for manufacturing work.
Employers can take advantage of existing training programs such as the Manufacturing Academy, Washington Aerospace Training and Research (WATR) Center or other programs typically administered through the local technical colleges or create their own on the job training program.
For more information or to apply for the program, please contact:
Sheree Clark, Loan Officer
Pierce County Economic Development
Phone: (253) 798-6916