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