The aerospace industry was born more than 100 years ago, when the internal combustion engine was joined to the balloon and the glider, reads a NASA Web page. “America’s contribution to it is vast, ranging from the first airplane and the first modern rocket to the latest in avionics.” Is the U.S. the losing its status on the world stage as a leader in aerospace innovation?
On the state level, officials such as Washington Governor Chris Gregoire are taking action to protect against a slipping aerospace industry status. Gregoire announced $3 million in funding for aerospace training and education, as discussed in my recent three-part blog series. “This investment… ensures our aerospace workers have the cutting-edge skills needed to design, build, and maintain the aircraft of tomorrow–helping our 650 aerospace companies grow and create new jobs,” Gregoire says.
The aerospace market is a dynamic and increasingly competitive business environment, admits Ray Conner, vice president and general manager for Supply Chain Management and Operations at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, headquartered in Renton, Wa. “Our shared success depends on having skilled and talented people ready to step in and build not only the world’s leading jetliners, but also a future that will make us all proud. These investments will fund training opportunities and allow for better alignment between business, our community and technical colleges. Most importantly, it will energize students who want exciting, high-paying jobs that we are creating in Washington State.”
This geek is encouraged by Washington State, as it devotes money to education and training. It is just the sort of thing needed to help keep U.S. innovation on the bleeding edge. As more countries become increasingly affluent and technologically savvy, programs such as these will help retain the American spirit of invention, innovation, and forward thinking—from which the mil/aero market will most definitely benefit.