Gov. Jay Nixon today announced that five community colleges in the greater St. Louis region have formed a Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium and committed to train thousands of Missouri workers for advanced manufacturing jobs at Boeing and other aerospace companies. The Governor said the consortium, which includes East Central College, Jefferson College, Mineral Area College, St. Charles Community College and St. Louis Community College, would give Missouri another competitive advantage in its efforts to win production of the Boeing 777X.
"The availability of a large, highly-skilled workforce is one of the key factors Boeing will use to determine where to produce its next generation of commercial aircraft," Gov. Nixon said. "Especially in high-tech industries like aerospace, we're seeing once again that Missouri's human capital is one of our most precious and marketable assets. With a strong public education system and an outstanding network of community colleges, this is an area where Missouri already has a competitive edge and the Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium will capitalize on this strength. By training thousands of workers in the areas of aerospace and advanced manufacturing, this consortium will fill a pipeline of highly-skilled workers ready to hit the ground running in these high-paying jobs on Day One."
The members of the consortium currently offer many programs that are related to aerospace manufacturing such as aerospace production and assembly, robotics and automation, precision machining, and welding. These institutions also have specialized facilities for this purpose including an aerospace composites assembly lab, an aerospace mechanical/electrical lab, an aerospace metal structures lab as well as capacity in general classroom space, offices and computer labs. Members of the consortium also committed to making their best efforts to ensure that at least 10 percent of training participants consortium-wide are minorities. Other public colleges may join the consortium as additional training needs are identified.
"The Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium will have the capacity to train thousands of Missourians for high-demand, high-wage jobs, and it will strengthen existing relationships community colleges and manufacturers throughout the state," said Dr. Ray Cummiskey, Jefferson College President and Missouri Community College Association Chair. "I speak for all of my community college colleagues when I say that we're looking forward to rolling up our sleeves and getting to work on this exciting new partnership."
In addition to the training consortium, the Governor has called the General Assembly into a special session to pass legislation to provide additional capacity of up to $150 million annually for large-scale aerospace projects under four of Missouri's performance-based economic development programs: Missouri Works, Missouri Works Training, Missouri BUILD, and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. The total amount of benefits Boeing could earn under these programs would be based on the number of new jobs created and the wages of those jobs, the amount of new capital investment, and the cost of training workers to build this next-generation aircraft.
Boeing already has nearly 700 suppliers and vendors in 24 counties across the state. Production of the Boeing 777X would expand opportunities for these and other suppliers, creating jobs and growing local economies throughout Missouri.
State responses to Boeing's RFP are due by Dec. 10, with a decision by Boeing expected by mid-January.