The aerospace industry is taking off in the east, and Tuesday U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, local leaders, companies and military providers met to discuss how they can work together to continue to grow the industry at the Aerospace Summit in Havelock. More than 9,000 North Carolinians work in the aerospace industry and about 5,000 of them are in the east.
30 companies in the east have been identified as being in the supply chain for the aerospace industry.
"Everything that we can do to create jobs, jobs, jobs is what I'm about and I know the aerospace industry has a huge economic impact in this region" said Senator Hagan, (D) NC.
One of the businesses creating an impact is Spirit Aerosystems. It's new facility in Kinston employs 264 people and they get 50 to 100 visitors from out of state each year. Spirit Aerosystems built its plant in Kinston in 2008 and Senator Hagan projected at Tuesday's summit in Havelock they are on track to employee thousands of people.
Another aerospace business that's thriving in the east is AAR Coporation.
"We're up to 350 permanent associates and actually at this very moment we're trying to add another 100 production associates before the end of the year," said Toby Lynch with AAR.
A panel and the audience discussed the future of aerospace at the summit, and how important it is to start in the classroom, which is one of the reasons Fleet Readiness Center East works with local schools to teach technical skills at the high school level such as welding and machining.
Senator Hagan says she hopes to help bring small businesses to the aerospace giants as suppliers and vendors, to help continue economic development in Eastern North Carolina.
Democratic Senator Kay Hagan is hosting an aerospace summit in Havelock Tuesday.
The focus for the meeting is how businesses in the region can work with the government, military and prime contractors. The event is scheduled to take place from noon to 4 p.m. at the Havelock Tourist and Event Center.
Hagan encourages all businesses, community leaders and assistance providers to attend and hear about the future of the aerospace economy in eastern North Carolina. The aerospace industry currently employs more than 5,000 workers at over 40 aerospace and defense companies within 100 miles of the region.
This is Hagan's second day in Eastern Carolina. She visited Rochelle Middle School in Kinston Monday. The school has improved its proficiency rates from 29 percent to 53 percent.