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Second only to oil and gas, the aerospace industry plays a vital role in Oklahoma's economy. A diversified aerospace workforce is critical to growing and capturing new businesses in the state.
Building on a Rich Tradition
Home to aerospace pioneers such as Wiley Post and Clyde Cessna, Oklahoma has a rich legacy of aerospace innovation dating back more than a century and the state has played a decisive role in America’s aviation history.
Today, Oklahoma continues to serve as a hub of aerospace innovation, as some of the world’s most successful aerospace companies choose to run major operations in the state.
Oklahoma is home to more than 1,100 aerospace entities, which employ more than 120,000 Oklahomans, according to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. Among them are Boeing, NORDAM, American Airlines, Spirit AeroSystems and Tinker Air Force Base.
Tinker is the largest single-site employer in the state and contributes more than $3 billion to the local economy annually. The Oklahoma City installation has an annual statewide economic impact of $3.6 billion, creating an estimated 33,000 secondary jobs.
A central hub for maintenance, repair and overhaul of military and civil aircraft, Oklahoma’s aerospace and defense industries produce about $27 billion in sales and $19 billion in exports each year. The aerospace industry spans the state with major centers of operation in Ardmore, Fort Sill, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and western Oklahoma.
In addition, the state’s reputation as a leader in aerospace stems from its central location, higher education, military bases and a CareerTech system that offers a wide range of career training opportunities in aerospace at seven campuses.
Providing educational opportunities for a career in aerospace is an important part of the state’s mission to sustain and grow the aerospace industry in Oklahoma. By creating pathways for education in aerospace, Oklahoma CareerTech is offering Oklahoma aerospace companies access to a pipeline of talent.
What’s more, with the recent donation of the MD-80 from American Airlines, Oklahoma CareerTech students will be able to train hands-on with the equipment they will use in the field.