While there is no such thing as “free money” from the government, multiple state and federal grants and federal benefit programs support manufacturing companies in different aspects of the business. For example, there are grants to support operations efficiency, worker training, research and development, and trade competition in Washington. Some types of support are also based on where companies are located, such as having locations in rural areas.
Washington State Grants and Programs for Manufacturing Companies
The following grants and programs are available to Washington State manufacturing companies. It is always a good idea to check the website for the most current information on any program.
Washington State EDA/ Safe Start Technical Support Grant
The Impact Washington Safe Start Grant provides no-cost technical support for manufacturing companies across various activities through federal funding. Impact Washington helps businesses with safe-start activities to prevent COVID infections and identify high-value rebuilding projects to help manufacturers grow.
Washington Job Skills Program (JSP) Grant
The Washington Job Skills Program (JSP) grant funds half the cost of training new or existing employees using licensed education institutions in Washington, including state community and technical colleges (CTCs). Companies can work directly with CTCs utilizing developed workforce training or customized training programs. Washington manufacturing companies can use the JSP training grant to reduce the cost of training workers on in-demand skills like Lean, safety training, digital technologies, and more.
Washington STEP Export Voucher Program
The Washington State Department of Commerce Export Voucher reduces the cost of export-related activities for companies in many industries. The program funds up to $10,000 for companies for various activities associated with international exporting and promotion of products and services, including website design, global digital advertising, export research, international travel, and other costs.
Washington Lean and Green Grant
The Washington Department of Ecology and Impact Washington Lean/ Green grant provides Lean support and implementation for Washington manufacturers. The program focuses on helping companies reduce operating costs, increase production efficiency, reduce regulatory costs and risk, increase worker health and safety, and improve company sustainability. The program reduces the consulting fees by 50 percent to 80 percent off the market price up to $24,000.
Federal Grants and Assistance
SBIR and STTR programs for Research and Innovation
Funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration, the SBIR and STTR competitive programs fund research and development conducted by small businesses (under 500 employees.) The research typically involves a nonprofit research institution and focuses on funding technologies with commercialization potential.
USDA Rural Business Programs
Many of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s programs support rural communities. While there are multiple programs for different industries, manufacturers will be most interested in the USDA Rural Development business and energy programs. State USDA Rural Development offices can help companies navigate these programs and answer questions on how to apply.
Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms
We are saving one of our favorite assistance programs (not a grant) for last – Trade Adjustment Assistance for Firms. The program is available to manufacturing, agriculture, wood products, seafood, and other traded sector companies nationwide facing import competition. Companies that have seen a decline in sales or employment may be eligible for federal matching funds up to $75,000. The funds pay for marketing, manufacturing, quality assurance, technology, finance, management, and other types of projects. Companies pick the projects (yes, multiple projects) and the outside experts they want to work with. For example, a manufacturer who sells to consumers could pay for a new website and prototype and label a new product. A fruit processor could use the funding to implement further food safety training and a cybersecurity project. Manufacturing companies across the Northwest have used trade adjustment assistance to drastically improve their sales, employment, and productivity.