During this last month, we gave a site tour to a manufacturer looking to move to our area, the Port of Chehalis received funding for the biomedical manufacturer we have been working to recruit, and we began a workforce study to help improve our labor force. These accomplishments were only possible with the help of you, our members, and the various leaders in the community. We thank you for your support.
Workforce Development Study
TIP Strategies, an economic development consulting group, is performing a study to identify job skill gaps and solutions to attract industry to Lewis County and meet the needs of workers. This study is in partnership with Centralia College, Pacific Mountain Workforce Development Council, and private industry. TIP Strategies kicked off their process and will be completing their work over the next four months. If you have a workforce training need that is not being met please contact the EDC and we will include your input in this process. The end goal of this project is to create training programs to meet the demands by employers.
Small Community Infrastructure Development
SCJ Alliance has begun their work on infrastructure planning that affects economic development opportunities in small towns and unincorporated communities such as Packwood. The scope of work includes planning for water and sewer infrastructure to serve the Benaroya Winlock site. This initiative is funded by Federal Economic Development Administration to fund infrastructure planning.
The State Community and Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) awarded $665,000 loan and a $100,000 grant to the Port of Chehalis for a biomedical construction project. This prospective development consists of site preparation to include construction of earthwork, roads, underground utilities (water, sanitary sewer, electricity, telecommunications) and storm water management, which will result in a nine-acre building pad. The port estimates that 234 jobs will be created and $30 million will be invested because of this project. CERB funds are matched by $1.4 million in local resources.
Business Retention & Expansion
James Churchill started his glove company back in 1895 when he began making gloves out of elk and deer leather to sell to local timber workers. Now a 121 years later the company is still in the family and currently run by James’ great grandsons, Mike & Andy Churchill. They continue to sell to the local timber industry, for example Northwest Hardwoods, but they also cater to larger domestic markets such as gloves for motorcyclists and rodeo professionals. And it isn’t just local and domestic industries this company sells its wares to, their sales reach all the way to Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Russia & South Korea. Two years ago, they had something amazing happen to them:
“It was 2015 we got this call from Popular Mechanics. They were writing an article on family owned companies when they read about us. Well we didn’t believe them but we went ahead and sent them an old worn glove. A month later they had fallen in love with the glove, had flown out here to see our process, and the next month published the article. We could hardly make our gloves fast enough. We were very fortunate to have our product featured in their magazine.”
Their thirteen employees are a loyal bunch with some of their careers at the company spanning decades. They are always looking to hire individuals who have a passion for manufacturing. If you know of anyone who wants to work for a local company whose history spans more than a century please reach out to us at 360-748-0114.
For questions regarding the EDC’s activities please contact Matt Matayoshi firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 748-0114