Preview: ‘Maximizing Aerospace’

Now that the 737 MAX has landed in Renton, state commerce officials and politicians are keeping their seatbelts fastened for the next leg. They’re sticking with a plan to grow the aerospace industry in Washington — with renewed confidence and humility, hoping to build on Boeing’s affirmation.

Public colleges and universities, meanwhile, have a mandate to train and educate many more skilled workers and engineers than before so the aerospace talent pool remains strong.

Some of these efforts are already paying off. Others are just getting under way.

On Sunday, The Herald will publish and post online a special report that explores the state’s bluer skies, titled “Maximizing Aerospace.”

One of the highlights will be lengthy Q&As with the two main gubernatorial candidates, Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna, about how they would manage aerospace as an economic engine. Here’s an excerpt from our Sunday front-page story:

“McKenna, who brought an iPad to the conversation and consulted it constantly, seemed to channel concerns that one might hear from a major Boeing shareholder. … Inslee, in contrast, expressed a viewpoint one might hear from a close friend of a Boeing worker.”

Other stories in the report:

• Even with 737 MAX, “we can’t take anything for granted”

• Calculating aerospace hiring’s payoff

• 737 MAX: Washington’s economic parachute

• Next challenges: landing 777X and 787-10 work

• Numbers crunch: State provides for more engineering students

• Today’s kindergartners, tomorrow’s aero engineers

• 11 schools, 1 goal: more trained aerospace workers

• New career path: from factory floor to drafting table

• A training-program success story at Paine Field

• Aerospace in Washington = Boeing + 650 suppliers

The writers are Michelle Dunlop, who has been the aerospace beat reporter for The Herald since 2006, and Jerry Cornfield, who has covered politics from Olympia for The Herald since 2004.

Look for their stories on Sunday, in print and here online.

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