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Commerce Dept. Designates 31 Regional Tech Hubs to Boost … – Senate Commerce Committee

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Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash), Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, applauded the designation by the Department of Commerce of 31 Regional Innovation and Technology Hubs (Tech Hubs), including Spokane-based American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center’s designation as a U.S. tech hub for aerospace materials manufacturing. The Tech Hubs program was established by the CHIPS and Science Act, which Sen. Cantwell spearheaded.
“Today, the Department of Commerce recognized the Spokane region as the nation’s future aerospace advanced materials Technology Hub. Winning this designation to be one of the first CHIPS & Science tech hubs raises a banner over the region saying that the U.S. is all-in on Spokane’s potential to generate new discoveries and new jobs,” Sen. Cantwell said. “There are already 54 aerospace suppliers within 20 miles of Spokane, and the planned American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center is a prime example of the breadth of that ecosystem – the hub brings together educational institutions like Gonzaga, UW and WSU; companies like Boeing and Advanced Thermoplastics Composites; labor groups like the Spokane Workforce Council and the Machinists Institute; Tribes, local government organizations, and more. With today’s designation, Spokane stands poised to compete for new federal investment and prove that while innovation can happen anywhere, the Pacific Northwest leads the way.”

The 31 Tech Hubs will focus on developing and growing innovative industries in regions across the country, including semiconductors, clean energy, critical minerals, biotechnology, precision medicine, artificial intelligence, quantum computing and more, according to the Dept. of Commerce. Tech Hubs bring together private industry, state and local governments, institutions of higher education, labor unions, Tribal communities and nonprofit organizations to compete for up to $75 million implementation grants to further develop these fields and make transformative investments in innovation, supply chain resilience and job creation.
The Spokane designation centers the Inland Northwest as a hub for aerospace suppliers, private investment, new products, and companies in the U.S. aerospace supply chain. According to the consortium, there are 54 aerospace suppliers within 20 miles of Spokane. The hub will focus on research and development of large thermoplastic composite aviation materials, which can make aircraft and spacecraft more fuel-efficient. The global aviation industry is looking to composite materials and advanced manufacturing as a solution to reduce carbon emissions and lower operating costs. Nearly 50 Spokane-area organizations—including Spokane-based Advanced Thermoplastics Composites (ATC), Gonzaga University, and the International Association of Machinists District 751—collaborated on the proposal to establish the American Aerospace Materials Manufacturing Center in Spokane.
Tech Hub Designations for Senate Commerce Committee Democratic Member States:
View the complete list of tech hubs and learn more about the announcement here.
Sen. Cantwell was the main architect and key negotiator of the CHIPS and Science Act, which created the tech hubs program. In her position as Commerce chair, she was instrumental in securing the science R&D funding authorizations in the 11th hour of negotiations. In April, Sen. Cantwell invited NSF director Sethuraman Panchanathan to Spokane, where he saw firsthand how Spokane organizations have collaborated to drive the region’s current and future potential as a leader in technology innovation. In July, Sen. Cantwell hosted the Washington State Space Summit, bringing together 20 aerospace companies, industry groups, and educators from across the State of Washington for a trade show and panel discussion. Video footage of Sen. Cantwell championing the tech hub program in a speech ahead of the CHIPS and Science Act passing the Senate on July 27, 2022, is available HERE (5:40 – 8:21).

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