Cantwell Secures $1 Million Grant for Thurston County Workforce Development

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U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, announced a $1 million federal grant for the Lacey MakerSpace in Thurston County from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Stakeholders will use the grant to purchase technical equipment and to train workers and business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, stated a news release. 

Cantwell wrote a letter of support for the grant application of the Lacey MakerSpace in August 2020.

“This $1 million grant will help spur innovation and support small businesses in South Puget Sound,” said Cantwell in the letter. “The Lacey MakerSpace aims to build a diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides local artists and small businesses access to highly technical fabrication tools and educational resources.”

The Lacey MakerSpace operates as an innovation lab for small business owners, artists and entrepreneurs in Thurston County. It operates in partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business and Innovation, the City of Lacey, and St. Martin’s University.

According to the release, training initiatives the grant will fund include the retraining of 335 displaced workers, the training of 93 participants each year for the next 10 years and the creation of 2,322 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the South Puget Sound region.

The grant will be matched with $251,700 in local funds, allowing for $1.4 million in private investments, stated the release. 

“Senator Cantwell has been an ardent supporter of EDA grants during her career in the Senate,” the release stated. “Cantwell consistently supports the program during the appropriations process, ensuring that strong economic development projects throughout the country receive the necessary funding.”

Cantwell is the chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

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