Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox, along with Utah aerospace industry partners and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, announced the newly formed Utah chapter of the Aerospace States Association in a special event at the State Capitol.
The ASA is a non-partisan organization made up of associate members of the aerospace industry, lieutenant governors and governor-appointed delegates. Lt. Gov. Cox will chair the Utah chapter of the ASA, which advocates for state-based initiatives that strengthen U.S. leadership in aviation and space.
“Utah’s new ASA chapter formalizes our continued dedication to the aerospace industry,” Lt. Gov. Cox said. “Our state works extremely well with industry partners, and establishing this platform will further the positive impact of our public-private collaboration.”
Utah’s aerospace industry recently took flight with an innovative approach to workforce development challenges. In 2015, industry leaders formed an unprecedented partnership with the government and education leaders to address a critical need for skilled workers. The partnership ultimately launched the Utah Aerospace Pathways program, which allows high school students to graduate with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing.
“The Utah Aerospace Pathways program has become a model that other industries can replicate to meet their own workforce development goals,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “This is a perfect example of states finding creative solutions to complex problems.”
Also at today’s event, Steven Hendrickson, director of government operations for Boeing, read a declaration from Governor Gary R. Herbert establishing Feb. 26 as Utah Aerospace Day. John Karas, vice president and program manager for Ground Based Strategic Deterrence at Lockheed Martin, presented Lt. Gov. Cox with a Utah state flag flown in space from the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle. Throughout the day, L-3, IMSAR and SilverHawk Aerial Imaging conducted live demonstrations of manned and unmanned aerial systems in various locations across the state, and several industry partners sponsored exhibits in the Capitol rotunda that showcased Utah’s aerospace assets.
By joining the ASA, Utah benefits from additional representation in federal aerospace and aviation policy development as well as collaboration with other member states. The organization advocates for issues that align with top priorities in Utah’s aerospace industry: research and design funding; workforce training; economic development in aerospace and aviation; excellence in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education; and keeping states competitive in a global marketplace.