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New Aviation Experience Center in Mobile due to open in 2019

The interstate leading into Downtown Mobile, Alabama.

Wednesday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) joined Airbus executives, local leaders from Mobile, and industry and educational partners in breaking ground for Flight Works Alabama, the new aviation experience center to be built in Mobile.

In May 2017, Ivey announced plans to build the hands-on instructional facility. The goal is to bolster Alabama’s workforce development efforts and inspire young people to pursue careers in aerospace.

Wednesday’s event officially launched construction of the facility, which is due to open in late 2019.

“Aerospace is a premier industry, filled with innovative developments and high demand jobs, which are sought after by every state,” Ivey said. “Flight Works Alabama will become a hub to explore the opportunities of this industry. As our state continues to grow this sector, we must show Alabamians all that the aerospace industry can offer them, today and in the years ahead.”

“Success for Airbus, and any company, means we can’t just look at what we’re doing now; we need to look at what we need later—whether it be next year, next decade, or the next five decades,” said Airbus America’s Chairman and CEO Jeff Knittel. What Airbus and other companies in our industry need to be successful in the future is a skilled, knowledgeable workforce that is ready for that future. Flight Works will help us create that workforce in a fun, creative way.”

Flight Works Alabama will be an 18,000-square-foot experience center housing a large interactive exhibition area, classrooms, a collaboration room, a workshop, a restaurant and a gift shop.

Flight Works Alabama will be located near the campus of Airbus’ aircraft manufacturing facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley. The center will also be a gateway for public tours of Airbus’ A320 family assembly line. Airbus said that the facility will host educational opportunities for adults seeking new or expanded skills in the industry. Nine education partners have signed on to provide these opportunities including Auburn University, Bishop State Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Troy University, Tuskegee University, the University of South Alabama, University of Alabama and University of West Alabama.

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Economic Developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “Innovations from Alabamians employed in the aerospace industry have changed the world. To continue that momentum and retain a level of expertise in any field, it is important for leaders to foster a culture that emphasizes professional development and training of current as well as future generations.”

“Flight Works Alabama is a workforce development initiative created from dialogue between industry and education as to what skills are deemed necessary to compete effectively in a global economy,” said Nicole Jones. “The Flight Works Alabama simulation environment, strategically placed near Airbus’ aircraft factory, serves as an excellent way to introduce students to careers in aerospace and aviation. We are looking forward to the Flight Works Alabama grand opening in late 2019 and the talent that will develop as a result of this partnership between the public and private sector.”

Industry and community sponsors for the project include: the Airbus Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Conde Systems, the Mobile County Commission, Mott MacDonald, Hoar Program Management, Johnson Controls, Mech-Net, Pratt & Whitney, Safran and Snap-On. Airbus said that other sponsorships are in development.

Kay Ivey has made recruiting high paying jobs and better developing the Alabama workforce since she was elevated to the office after then Gov. Robert Bentley (R) resigned.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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