Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce (Commerce) is the lead state agency tasked with enhancing and promoting community and economic vitality in Washington. As the agency responsible for growing the Washington State economy, it supports sector leads in areas such as aerospace, agriculture and food manufacturing, clean technology, information and communication technology, the creative economy, forest products, life sciences and biotechnology, maritime, and the military. Sector leads work closely with the Governor, industry heads, and government leaders to develop strategies to support business growth statewide.
The Washington BEST Manufacturing Act. In 2021, the Legislature passed The Washington BEST Manufacturing Act (act), which directed Commerce to develop a biennial report on the state of the manufacturing and research and development industry and workforce. The report must identify progress or challenges the state has encountered in achieving the goal and identify recommendations. Commerce must convene a Manufacturing Council to advise and consult on the development of the biennial report and recommendations. The act also established a Workforce Innovation Sector Lead within Commerce.
The Washington Clean Manufacturing Leadership Act is created and directs Commerce to oversee an independent assessment of opportunities to capture new and emerging industries, and strengthen its existing manufacturing base. The independent assessment commissioned by Commerce must be shared with relevant stakeholders, the State Manufacturing Council, the appropriate committees of the Legislature, and the public by October 1, 2024. Commerce must use the independent assessment to develop the state industrial strategy by June 1, 2025.
The independent assessment has a variety of requirements that include, but are not limited to:
The assessment will not replace but may inform the manufacturing council, which advises and consults with Commerce.
Commerce is directed to appoint an industrial policy advisor to ensure that Washington fully leverages available federal funding for manufacturing to meet the state's economic development goals.
The state industrial strategy must strengthen and transform Washington's manufacturing base and capture new and emerging industries and be informed by the independent assessment. The State Manufacturing Council must advise and consult on the development of the state industrial strategy.
July 23, 2023