EVERETT, Wash. --
Industry insiders said Thursday that Boeing may be about to lay off 300 workers from its flight test unit, but that comes as Gov. Chris Gregoire announces federal money to train more aerospace workers in Washington.
If Boeing lays off 300 workers, that would be part of 4,500 cuts for Boeing commercial airplane workers this year.
Gregoire committed $1.5 million of federal work source money, in an effort to provide more trained workers to aviation companies like Boeing.
The money will go to programs like Everett Community College's Aviation Maintenance Technology School. The training center and several others across the state train maintenance and flight line workers for jobs at aerospace companies like Boeing.
Instructor Bill Loomis said some of the equipment at the school dates from the 1960s.
"It’s equipment used for testing aircraft electrical system components, and we'll probably replace it with very similar equipment but newer technology," Loomis said.
The program money comes as Boeing is considering moving its second 787 Dreamliner assembly line to South Carolina, which analysts said has lower-paid workers, but also a less-skilled aerospace workforce.
Gregoire said in addition to well-trained workers, Boeing has another reason to keep its 787 assembly in Washington.
"We're rated as one of the best states in the nation, most livable states in the nation. South Carolina, number 49. Now you wanna live there, you wanna live here?" she said.
Though Boeing is laying off thousands of workers this year, the company said it's hiring skilled graduates of the Aviation Maintenance School, a big reason that program is so popular in this bad economy.
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