Study: Aerospace a Growing Source for Local High Paying Jobs

Last  night the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce released its first  economic impact study in almost a decade on the local aerospace  industry, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports. 

Foremost  among the figures included in the report, the number of people employed  in aerospace-related job and the overall regional economic impact: more  than 10,000 workers, and $3.4 billion, respectively. 

Chamber President and CEO Richard Perez says the study highlights a key  factor that places San Antonio among the top domestic aerospace  industry communities: employees. 

“We  have a young workforce that’s trainable, and we have an excellent  friend in the Alamo Community College District and other private  companies that are in the training business that are our ace in the  hole, if you will,” says Perez. 

Locally, St. Philip’s College Southwest Campus and Hallmark offer  aviation maintenance certifications and two- or four-year degrees. Perez says the median local aerospace industry salary positions workers solidly in the middle class.  

“The  annual average wage in the private industry, the aerospace industry, is  about $78,000, almost $79,000 so, for a city like San Antonio with our  relatively low cost of living, that is a fantastic wage to be able to  raise your family, and to build upon your skills and go up,“  Perez  says.

Local  aviation and aerospace employment also supports more than 22,000  related, or "spin-off" service industry jobs, the report documents.

Although,  according to the study, local aerospace firms have added more than  1,000 jobs so far this year the overall number is lower than a few years  ago, in part because of the recent departure of Lockheed Martin's Kelly  Aviation Center earlier this year, a loss Perez says was both a result  of a recession that began about a decade ago and the sometimes cyclical  nature of the industry. 

The report also identifies a deficit in local hangar space to support current and future aerospace tenants. 

Nonetheless,  says Perez, San Antonio is identifying strategies to stay steps ahead  of other U.S. communities, and even states that are pooling their  municipal resources, to attract aviation and aerospace companies. 

”The  city, the county, and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation,  along with the Chamber, are working together to aggressively court  aerospace jobs,”  he says, “so I think we’re sitting in a very, very  positive place to grow.” 

GRAPHIC: SAN ANTONIO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

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