Creating jobs to support a growing industry
The Center of Excellence would include an education component being developed now by South Puget Sound Community College as a certificate program that could easily evolve into a two- or four-year program focused on workforce development to support the growing industry. Our studies indicate the Center could play a similar role in growing the craft brewing and distilling industry as the enology and viticulture program at Walla Walla Community College has had in the flourishing Washington wine industry.
Washington State Department of Commerce designated a Craft Brewing & Distilling Innovation Partnership Zone (IPZ). This partnership was developed to advance craft brewing, distilling, and cider making in the region. It is strong on education and workforce development, entrepreneurship, industry, research, and public partners to accelerate economic advancement and innovation. Spearheaded by the Thurston Economic Development Council and Center for Business Innovation, plus South Puget Sound Community College, School of Food Science at Washington State University/University of Idaho, City of Tumwater and a platform of local brewers, cider makers, and distillers. The application was supported by the cities of Olympia and Lacey, and the Port of Olympia.
The Center of Excellence is based in industry. That’s what makes it unique. Programs are developed around customized industry needs focused on teaching the art of brewing and distilling and more importantly, the business behind it.
A small portion of the project is expected to add 662 jobs (for 30,000 sq. ft. academic component, plus 55,000 sq. ft. of business incubators, museum/gift shop, brew pub, restaurant, craft brewery and distillery, and office expansion).