Increase projected for jobs in the aviation industry

Kesha Williams
April 03, 2009

Look into the future and see a realm of new jobs in the aviation industry. That was the message the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance shared during a recent meeting at Elizabeth City State University. The North Carolina Aerospace Alliance includes 1,800 members of companies producing services and goods related to the aviation industry. The alliance serves as source of information for its members and other interested parties such as ECSU aviation science faculty. Joe Gragg of the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance said North Carolina is home to many small and medium sized companies prepared to capture those new jobs. Of particular interest, jobs the Department of Defense will complete by contracting private companies to do the work. "Through the Department of Defense, there are millions of dollars in contracted services that North Carolina companies can secure if they just know the contracts exist. The North Carolina Aerospace Alliance exists to help its members identify those contracts and complete the proper paperwork to secure the contracts," Gragg said. "The more information the alliance shares, the more North Carolina's aviation businesses can grow. As those businesses grow, the number of jobs-- skilled and unskilled labor-- will increase in North Carolina. Aviation Science students at ECSU should also be aware of those job projections. It's a good time to prepare for careers in the aviation industry." According to Gragg, some companies in North Carolina are poised to work independently to meet the DOD's demand for particular services and goods. North Carolina companies partner with other companies to offer the services those federal government contracts require. "The federal government owns many, many expensive aircraft that will require maintenance over the years. That means there will be a demand for mechanical parts, and related services in the aviation industry," Gragg said. "ECSU officials and their aviation science students leave this meeting better informed of the new developments in aviation best of all, the aviation science jobs slated for North Carolina." Dr. J. Anthony Sharp, director of ECSU's Aviation Science program, was happy the North Carolina Aerospace Alliance held their meeting at the university. It exposed students to alliance members. "It was a wonderful opportunity to expose more aviation and aerospace business entities in the state to the aviation education capabilities of ECSU. As the only four-year aviation education program in the state of North Carolina, we want businesses to know that ECSU can be expected to provide ready and well-educated aviation employees for their businesses," Sharp said. "In addition, many of these businesses will be opportunities for students to complete their required internships." Sharp feels, too, that the meeting was a great opportunity for students to meet and interact with alliance members. Tate Johnson, director of the Eastern Office-Office of the Governor, said it was exciting to see so many representatives from various sectors of the community and the university meet. "For the past several months, the news has focused on budget short falls, job losses and negative market returns. We must not lose focus of the mechanisms that will help bring us out of this difficult period," Johnson said.