The governor's task force has decided the way to get aerospace into Utah is to work on the infrastructure of the state - everything from training and educating people to making sure services are available.
Development of aerospace as a major player in the state's economic future depends on education, said Lynn Blake, director of business development in the Department of Community and Economic Development.Utah's community colleges can train people in two years for jobs that pay $20 an hour in the aerospace and aviation fields, Blake said. And the jobs are not ones in which workers are up to their elbows in grease.
"We're going to aggressively work with the educational community to help students understand there are some exciting opportunities" in an industry that is growing by more than 10 percent a year, said Blake.
Providing a trained and educated pool of workers entices firms to locate in Utah, said Val Finlayson, co-chairman of the Governor's Aerospace Development Task Force.
While engineering jobs are required in both aviation and aerospace, technical skills such as drafting and computer science can be taught in vocational schools that do not require four years of college, he said.
"We even have the facilities in Utah" to train people in machine work, said Finlayson. "We don't have the students - they don't know the jobs are out there."
Many companies will pay employees to attend classes, including those workers seeking a higher degree, Finlayson and Blake said.
And firms are working with colleges and trade schools to train people while offering the schools some experienced professionals.
"Our long-term plans are developing cooperatives with the universities that are creating" the pool of workers, said Bob D'Ausilio, president of Intraspace, a satellite firm based in North Salt Lake.
"The idea is to mix and match so the students get the benefits of experienced engineers and the kids get the opportunity" to work on real-world projects, said D'Ausilio, who is working with Weber State College to get a cooperative program going.