Gonzaga Continues Pursuit of Inland Northwest Tech Hub

Two workers work on the nose of an under-construction airplane

July 02, 2024
Gonzaga University News Service

On July 2, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced an initial funding round of implementation grants to 12 Tech Hubs representing regions from across the country.

Although the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene-based American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center (AAMMC) was not included in this initial round of funding, it has received news of continued interest and potential funding on the part of the Department of Commerce, underscored by the announcement of a visit by Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Alejandra Castillo.

Gonzaga University joined with consortium partners in affirming an ongoing effort to accelerating this important initiative to strengthen the region’s economy and advance our national security. School officials emphasized their appreciation of the continued commitment from Washington's congressional delegation and EDA to fully funding the designated Tech Hubs, including the AAMMC.

“The American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center’s designation as one of only 31 Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs last October was national recognition of the organizational, educational, civic, business, and cultural resources of the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene region,” said Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh.

“It was clear from the outset that this would be a very competitive process; it is also clear that our proposal is incredibly important for the future of American competitiveness in commercial aviation and aerospace. We will continue to partner with regional and national leaders to realize the vision of building our region into a premier center for aerospace materials.”

With support from the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA, and the region’s elected representatives, including Washington Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, the vision and plans for the AAMMC Tech Hub consortium will continue to serve the region as additional investment opportunities are pursued.

“The American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Tech Hub in Washington State embodies the spirit and potential of the Tech Hubs program to take centers of excellence and make them world-class tech ecosystems through targeted investments,” said U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo in a statement announcing Castillo's visit. “That’s precisely why I’ve asked Assistant Secretary Castillo to travel to Washington with a team to meet with leadership and provide technical assistance on their strategy in the defense and aerospace markets. The Tech Hubs Program is crucial to ensuring tech industries vital to U.S. economic and national security start, stay, and grow in the U.S., and that’s why I’m committed to future rounds of funding and working with lawmakers to support additional federal resources to support all of our designees.”

Information about the AAMMC  

The American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center unites education, workforce training, small and medium sized industry partners, global aerospace leaders, and advance research institutions. This collaboration will expand knowledge and expertise in advance composite materials and establish the Inland Northwest as a hub for aerospace suppliers, private investment, new products and companies in the U.S. aerospace supply chain.

Information about the Regional Technology and Innovation Hub (“Tech Hub”) Program

The Tech Hubs Program was authorized by the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act, a key part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, which he signed into law in August 2022. The statute authorized $10 billion for the program over five years. To date, EDA has been appropriated $541 million for the program. To ensure that all 31 designated Tech Hubs have the tools they need to compete on a global scale, the Administration is bringing the full resources of the federal government to identify and provide funding, technical assistance, and planning for the 31 consortiums.

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