May 8, 2024

Sekisui growth marks largest expansion for EDB’s BRE program

Japan-based Sekisui Aerospace is growing, and the economic impact for Pierce County and beyond is significant.

The aerospace supplier’s most recent expansion added hundreds of positions at their Sumner and Renton facilities, and more full time employees will join the ranks over the next few months.

The EDB and its partners helped make it happen.

Teamwork in action

For more than three decades, Sekisui Aerospace has designed, tested and manufactured composite products for the aerospace industry. The EDB’s relationship with the industry leader began when its parent company, Sekisui Chemical Co., acquired Sumner-based AIM Aerospace in 2018-2019. The $510 million acquisition marked one of the largest foreign direct investments in Pierce County within the past decade. Since the acquisition, an additional $13 million has been invested on new capital equipment.

After meeting with the Washington State delegation at the 2023 Paris Air Show, Sekisui executives reached out to the EDB for help with a major workforce expansion of 200-500 jobs in their Sumner and Renton facilities.

“We immediately put together a project team that included Washington State Department of Commerce, WorkForce Central, Impact Washington and Clover Park Technical College Corporate Education,” EDB Vice President for Business Retention and Expansion Maddie Merton said. “We were able to quickly respond to their questions and provide information on available grants, tax incentives and workforce development programs that would support their expansion.”

Here are just a few examples of the assistance provided by the EDB and its partners:

  • With help from Clover Park Technical College Corporate Education, Sekisui is in the process of applying for a second round of Job Skills Program (JSP) funding to support new composite training and high-potential leadership development. Corporate Education is also developing new curriculum development and training.
  • Workforce connections and support were the company’s largest need. Sekisui participated in several Pierce County career events, including the Pierce County Manufacturing Day Expo and Collaboration for a Cause, as well as hiring events at Sekisui’s Sumner and Renton facilities.
  • The project team recently participated in a special tour for Sekisui HR executives at Joint Base Lewis-McChord to help build workforce talent connections. Around 6,000 service members transition annually out of active duty. The event was led by Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs.

Since connecting with the EDB in June 2023, Sekisui has hired 200 full-time employees between its Sumner and Renton locations. After recently landing a competitive bid for a new project with Boeing, Sekisui is on track to hire an additional 150 employees over the next few months. At full staff capacity, 950 FTEs will be employed in Washington state.

“The latest Sekisui project marks the single largest expansion for the EDB’s Business Retention and Expansion program in terms of overall investment and total number of jobs,” Merton said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to help them grow.

Photo credit: Sekisui Aerospace


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