Boeing is in the news. The aviation industry definitely seems the branch to watch. But the challenge we face is significant.
The global powerhouse of aviation manufacturing is (believe it or not): Kansas, USA.
50% (!) of the world’s general aviation is manufactured in Kansas. Boeing, Bombardier, Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Spirit Aerosystems plants are all located over there. The region offers the largest aviation supplier base in the world. Boeing is one of those many manufacturing icons still made in the USA.
So, clearly, the aviation industry powers the wide economy. Manufacturing is the leading industry for Kansas. Aviation manufacturing is still the # 1 net export in the United States, with 60% of the world’s aerospace sales. So there is an impressive potential as the industry grows.
Currently, there are 36,500 aerospace manufacturing jobs in Kansas, and another 142,350 jobs are supported by aviation directly or indirectly. The business is booming, BUT… Boeing already reported that by 2015, 40% of the aircraft maker’s workers reach retirement age. “That’s some 60,000 employees eligible to retire in five years. We just don’t see the recruitment pipeline meeting our needs”.
Peter Gustaf confirms that 27% of the Kansas aviation manufacturing workforce is eligible for retirement, 40% over the next 5 years. Over 1,000 workers are needed in 2010, with an additional 1,000 expected each year for the next 10 years. 12,000 people alone are needed for retirement replacement. This suggests that we need 25,000 skilled workers…
The formula for aviation’s continued success is clear, according to Peter Gustaf:
- Strong aviation companies and suppliers
- World leader in aviation research (via the Wichita State University’s National Institute of Aviation Research(NIAR))
- Strong work ethic
- Access to potential workforce
So the top strategic priority in Kansas is now: technical training to ensure a skilled workforce and competitive skills.
That is the reason why The National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) has been developed, offering:
- Training programs to meet the changing needs of employers, learners and families in the region;
- Training in a real-world environment that prepares them for high-tech work in general aviation manufacturing, and aircraft and power plant mechanics;
- Training in a world-class training facility with cutting edge technology to meet industry needs, as new technologies require new skills and extensive re-training;
- Training as a one-stop solution for flexible and customized education to meet business needs to the best aviation maintenance technicians, composites technicians, aerostructures technicians and machine technology specialists,…to name a few.
Initiatives like this, using a “business-driven” model of technical training, will be key to keep our economic drivers going and to maintain and enhance quality of life. Don’t you think so??