Cantwell Announces $1 Million Federal Grant to Spur Workforce Development in Thurston County

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced the Lacey MakerSpace in Thurston County will receive a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The grant will be used to purchase state-of-the-art technical equipment and train workers and business owners impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In August 2020, Cantwell wrote a letter of support for Lacey MakerSpace’s grant application.

“This $1 million grant will help spur innovation and support small businesses in South Puget Sound. 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,” said Senator Cantwell. “This grant will allow the Lacey MakerSpace to purchase state-of-the art equipment to continue providing workforce training to help workers and small business owners gain the skills they need to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business & Innovation (CB&I), the City of Lacey, and St. Martin’s University, the Lacey MakerSpace operates as an innovation lab for countless small business owners, artists, and entrepreneurs in Thurston County. Within the first 36 months of purchasing the new equipment with this grant, CB&I and its partners will be able to continue offering several short-term and long-term training programs that are expected to retrain 335 displaced workers, train 93 participants each year for the next 10 years, and generate 2,322 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the South Puget Sound region.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and will be matched with $251,700 in local funds. The project is expected to generate $1.4 million in private investment.

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