While Florida’s Space Coast doesn’t get as much television time as it did during NASA’s space shuttle era, it still remains the epicenter of the aerospace industry. Last week, Harris Corporation, headquartered in Melbourne, Florida, hosted a two-day summit here with the Aerospace Industries Association. Their combined message: lucrative careers are available in the aerospace industry. The summit was aimed at inspiring and building Florida’s aerospace workforce of tomorrow and promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education strategies.
Finding talented people to sustain the industry in the coming years is paramount. The aerospace and defense industry employs more than 70,000 people in Florida and accounts for approximately 10% of the State’s exports and 1.3% of its GDP. To continue to be the leading nation in space technology and capabilities – much of which is developed in Florida – America needs to inspire future talent pursue careers in aerospace.
“This forum provides a tremendous opportunity to address Florida’s aerospace and defense workforce needs,” said AIA President and CEO David F. Melcher. “We must do our utmost to inspire and recruit the next generation of scientists and engineers. Our industry has great potential to create new high-skill, high-wage jobs, but it takes the right kind of people to create the innovations and ideas that keep our industry vibrant long into the future.”
The two-day summit brought together leaders from government, industry and academia to discuss some of the biggest challenges, industry trends, and ideas for recruiting the best available talent to the aerospace and defense industry. The summit featured several panels with keynote speakers with a broad spectrum of expertise. Several AIA member companies offered local tours of facilities to showcase the exciting jobs available in the aerospace industry.
“Aerospace and defense companies create exciting innovations and offer young scientists and engineers tremendous, high-paying career opportunities,” said Harris Chairman, President and CEO William M. Brown. “This summit provides industry, education and government organizations an opportunity to identify new ways to help foster innovative minds and attract them to this vibrant, growing sector.”
“We’d like to thank Harris Corporation for hosting this summit, and sponsor companies Lockheed Martin Corporation, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Rockwell Collins and Larsen Motorsports” Melcher said. “They are rightly proud of their role in helping ensure that aerospace and defense companies in Florida help make our country stronger, more secure and more prosperous.”