Officials from Stillwater, Oklahoma, gathered earlier this week to announce that a new aerospace parts facility will create up to 600 jobs in the region, which greatly expands Belgium-based ASCO U.S. aerospace staffing.
The company currently has operations in four countries, but its newest plant will tremendously expand its U.S. footprint. ASCO plans to use the facility to build durable aircraft components that will then be shipped to major aerospace manufacturers such as Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Embraer. Production will begin in what used to be the MerCruiser facility.
"ASCO makes things, and they make things better than others make things," said Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb at the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce on Monday, July 9. "And they'll be making those things, those products, those items in Stillwater, America."
Lamb added that Oklahoma's aerospace industry is growing by leaps and bounds, and companies across the state are hiring for new positions as the state leans more heavily on its manufacturing sector.
"If the state is not making products to ship, to export and to create new jobs, any state will start to sink," Lamb said.
Stillwater Mayor John Bartley said the increase in manufacturing in the region is a much-needed shot in the arm for the overall economy.
"We're going to have new families moving in. We're going to have families moving back, I feel quite certain," Bartley said. "It is going to be wonderful. It's with an unbelievable sense of Stillwater pride to know that the parts being built here in the near future will be the ones that make planes fly safely and carry us, our families and our friends all across this world."
Production of the aerospace parts will come in two phases, the first of which will begin in September, and will immediately create about 250 jobs. Production is expected to begin in early 2014, when another 250 to 350 jobs will become available.
According to the Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Alliance, the state has benefited recently from a number of new training programs that have helped ready the workforce for more aerospace jobs. A number of these have been sponsored by Boeing and other industry leaders.