For well over 100 years, GSI has been leading community initiatives, projects and efforts that improve the economic viability, health of our region, health of our business community and the employees they support. Here are our Key Community Initiatives that GSI's Board of Trustees has identified as priority objectives for this year.
Life Sciences Spokane - Grow a Healthy Life Sciences Industry
GSI is working to create robust life sciences industry growth and an annual economic impact of more than $1.7 billion and more than 9,000 jobs for our region by 2030. This initiative, led by GSI in partnership with business, health care, and education sectors, includes the expansion of world-class health and medical sciences education, the creation of a health care and life sciences industry hub, and has the ability to transform our local economy by building on our community’s largest economic driver – health care.
Grow Regional Education Attainment
Our region and the nation are facing a shortage of qualified and skilled workers. GSI is dedicated to improving the education attainment of our region by increasing the proportion of residents in Spokane County with high-quality, high-demand degrees, certificates or credentials from 40% to 60% by 2025. With a focus on career awareness, STEM, and the working adult student, we mobilize business, education, and community partners to strengthen the talent pipeline, from cradle to career.
Expand Aerospace & Advanced Manufacturing Industries
There are more than 120 aerospace-related companies in the region employing more than 12,000 people. GSI is dedicated to growing the region’s capacity to serve as a supply chain for the aerospace industry, retaining our region’s manufacturing base and leveraging the aerospace supply chain study to further these efforts.
Protect and Grow Military Jobs, Operations, and Infrastructure
In the 1940s, Spokane business leaders donated the land for what ultimately has become Fairchild Air Force Base.GSI is working to support our military, military personnel, and civilian contractors by advocating for the current and future mission priorities of Fairchild Air Force Base and other military operations in the region. With a roster of close to 6,000 employees, Fairchild Air Force Base is the largest single-site employer in Eastern Washington.
Pursue Dedicated Economic Development Funding
Most other states frequently provide economic incentives to assist in the expansion and recruitment of businesses. Washington State, due to some state constitution limitations and other factors, provides limited incentives by comparison. Creating economic growth relies primarily on the local community. There are several powerful local tools, including port districts and rural county economic development funds. Port authorities are a legally authorized entity allowed to engage in economic development activities for the construction and development of infrastructure. Washington State leads the U.S. in utilizing port districts as an economic development tool, with 75 port districts in 33 counties. Rural county economic development funds are available in all but six counties, including Spokane, the only Eastern Washington County not eligible. GSI has researched the pros and cons of creating a port district and lead an effort to expand rural county authority to border counties. We will continue these efforts with the goal to provide a regional economic development funding tool for core infrastructure not currently provided by the private sector.