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Skilled labor needed as aviation, aerospace rebound in Kansas

Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Gov. Laura Kelly and Lt. Gov. and Commerce Secretary David Toland were in Wichita on Monday to meet with local aviation and aerospace leaders.

The representatives for the small and medium companies said that after two years of turbulence, their industry is returning to more stable conditions. The biggest issue they face going forward is finding trained and qualified workers as recovery continues.

“Right now, is getting the right people back to work that are trained. I worry that we’ve lost some of those skill sets as a result of this pandemic including the grounding of the 737 Max,” said Lynn Nichols, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingling Aviation.

The industry leaders shared their concerns during a roundtable discussion, a kickoff to the governor’s economic recovery tour of Kansas. The companies said the state needs to continue investing in education and training programs.

New technology is where aviation businesses see the industry going and pinned their sustainability in recent years in looking for new opportunities.

“Have facilities, we do have the technology. I’ve been bringing in quite a few engineers to Wichita, That helps us bring in the technology,” said Todd Winters, President of ‎Mid-Continent Instruments. “We have been able to diversify up into military and commercial markets as well with electrical systems.”

Gov. Kelly said the state will aid the industries with federal pandemic relief from Congress. The Kansas legislature also passed bills the governor said will modernize regulation on the sector of the economy.

“We’re really interested in getting first-hand input about what it is the state needs to ensure that these companies come out of this pandemic,” said Gov. Kelly.

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