CHARLESTON, S.C., June 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- South Carolina's aerospace industry was the fastest growing in the nation between 2007 and 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, thanks in large part to the 787 Dreamliner assembly plant that Boeing opened in North Charleston in 2009, which now employs 6,700 workers. The state's aerospace industry grew by more than 600% within the five-year period.
The juggernaut shows no signs of slowing with recent announcements that Boeing will invest another $1 billion over the next five years and create 2,000 new jobs to establish an engineering design center and 737 MAX propulsion operation in the Charleston region.
"Charleston was really in the spotlight at last week's Paris Air Show," said David Ginn, President and CEO of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance, who was part of the South Carolina delegation that travelled to the world's biggest aerospace show to attract more investment to the Palmetto State.
"With the buzz about Boeing's expanded footprint in Charleston, suppliers and other global aviation companies were all ears to learn more about what our state has to offer."
The Charleston region is home to approximately 70 aerospace and aviation-related businesses, including big names like Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Booz Allen Hamilton. Smaller, specialized firms supply everything from gears and hoses to computer systems.
With a rich military history, Charleston is also home to several aerospace-related military organizations, such as Joint Base Charleston and the Space & Naval Warfare Systems (SPAWAR). Charleston's commercial aviation sector, however, is rapidly developing—growing from 9% of aviation sector employment in 2007 to nearly half, at 49% today.
One of the biggest draws for aerospace companies has been the availability of high-quality workforce training and education systems. For example, Ready SC, the state's highly regarded workforce training program, played an integral role in gearing up Boeing's South Carolina workforce. Local colleges such as Trident Technical College's Aeronautical Studies Division and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, offer a practical education for aspiring aerospace experts.
Located midway between New York and Miami, the Port of Charleston also offers a strong asset for global aerospace companies, boasting the deepest harbor in the South Atlantic and can accommodate large, post-Panamax ships to accept and transport goods.
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SOURCE Charleston Regional Development Alliance