The Port of Bellingham helped secure a $125,000 workforce development grant that will help a local solar panel manufacturer increase efficiency and train new workers.
The grant comes from the Washington State Department of Commerce, according to a news release from the Port. It will assist Itek Energy, which is moving into a 48,000-square-foot warehouse at 800 Cornwall Ave. Along with helping streamline operations, the grant will fund training for up to 125 workers – 40 being new hires. The company currently employs 85 full-time workers and is moving from the Irongate business park.
These type of grants are used to encourage companies like Itek Energy to expand in Washington state and invest in local workers, said Brian Bonlender, Washington Commerce director.
“Workforce development grants are an effective tool for creating and retaining high-skill advanced manufacturing jobs that will keep Washington companies competitive in the global marketplace,” Bonlender said in the news release.
Construction is expected to be finished in the spring, with the first shipments out of the facility happening by late summer, said Karl Unterschuetz, director of business development at Itek.