Aerospace & Defense: How it impacts Utah
It’s no surprise that Utah is a big player in the aerospace and defense industry. The industry accounts for nearly 1,000 companies and more than 30,000 jobs in Utah. Key companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman, L-3 Communications, Hexcel, and ATK are thriving across the state. With companies like these, it’s no wonder the Aerospace Manufacturing Attractiveness Rankings report by PwC placed the Beehive state in the top 5 states for aerospace manufacturing attractiveness.
With present strengths in maintenance, repair, operations, and production, Utah has substantial opportunities for growth. To keep up with industry demands, an educated workforce is vital. The state is doing all it can to create necessary partnerships with educational institutions. Not only is Utah expanding its Utah Aerospace Pathways program (which gives high school seniors the chance to shadow and train in aerospace manufacturing), it is also ramping up college engineering, manufacturing, and composites programs to remain competitive in the field.
Utah is also home to Hill Air Force Base, the state’s largest single-site employer, which accounts for approximately 20,000 jobs. The 2015 Economic Impact Statement reported that Hill AFB made a significant fiscal impact on Utah’s economy that same year– nearly $3.3 billion. In more recent news, Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the F-35, began construction of a new building in the Falcon Hill National Aerospace Research Park earlier this year. The facility will be a program management office, competing for a multi-billion dollar contract to replace the Air Force's fleet of Minuteman III nuclear missiles, and has the potential to bring in dozens of new jobs.
Though Utah presently has a high number of employees in aerospace and defense related occupations, it is clear that the future holds continuous expansion in the field. The industry has made great contributions to Utah's economy in the past and will continue to do so well into the future.