Georgia's strategically important location — two hours by air to 80% of the U.S. population — makes it an ideal place for aviation companies to build a headquarters or expand operations.
In Columbus, Cessna Aircraft Company is expanding its facility for manufacturing engine parts and propellers.
In Marietta, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics recently won a 2008 Manufacturer of the Year award.
In Macon, Boeing continues to manufacture the C-17, the American military’s workhorse.
In the Savannah area, Gulfstream, LMI Aerospace and Savannah Air Center all have launched major expansions needed to accommodate their booming businesses.
All of these companies have two things in common: their products defy gravity, and Quick Start is helping to prepare their workforce for continued success.
Quick Start’s workforce training is helping Georgia’s aerospace and aviation industry fly high.
2006: with demand on the rise for its aircraft, Gulfstream Aerospace management decides the time is right to expand production.
Wait times for delivery of a new Gulfstream exceed four years after order, so ramping up delivery as quickly as possible was a priority.
A longtime fixture in Savannah, Gulfstream officials considered several locations for the $400 million facility as well as a massive new 570,000 square foot service center. Their focus was on workforce development.
Gulfstream's requirements were demanding: in addition to a large number of production workers, they required a ready supply of engineers.
The market for their aircraft was there. But would they be able to find enough of the right employees to meet demand?
Alerted to the opportunity, Quick Start developed a comprehensive training program linking Savannah Technical College and Gulfstream, and as a result of studying the plan, the company chose to expand in Savannah.
To get the workforce training started right away, Quick Start’s training professionals met with the Gulfstream team to define the core competencies needed for various positions.
Meanwhile, Savannah Tech prepared a diverse set of Technical Certificate of Credit programs to address long-term workforce needs of the aviation and aerospace industry that is booming in the Savannah area.
Just as Kia led to development of nearby companies in west Georgia to feed its production needs, Gulfstream's expansion has led companies with state-of-the-art production to locate around Savannah.
LMI Aerospace is expanding its facility and expanding production thanks to the booming aerospace business in the region.
LMI assembles "kits," or sets of materials that Gulfstream uses as part of the "skin" of its aircraft.
It's an innovative system that allows for timely and efficient delivery of manufactured components.
Quick Start provided training in mapping and kit assembly, leadership safety, math and blueprint reading. That helps LMI manage its growth by providing a steady flow of qualified workers.
The state of Georgia, Baldwin County and Milledgeville worked together to "pull together on the rope" when Triumph Aerostructures landed a massive Boeing contract to support production of its Dreamliner 777 and 787 commercial airplanes.
The biggest contract in its history meant Triumph needed to be able to grow its workforce quickly and count on a reliable flow of workers moving forward.
Quick Start developed a lab custom-designed to implement the best training methods. This was the sixth time in 15 years Quick Start has been engaged with Triumph and its previous owners Grumman and Vought.
"There's a great deal of new technology involved,' says Merlin Fechner, site president for Triumph Aerostructures — Vought Aircraft Division.
"I've managed manufacturing facilities around the country. The dedication and commitment of this workforce is unsurpassed. They are the key component of our success."
Meggitt Polymers and Composites doesn't just make great products, the company also saves lives.
Meggit's mission-critical line up includes fuel tanks that withstand gunshots and crash landings, electro-thermal de-icing systems and upholstered interior components for military and civilian aircraft.
The company's Rockmart, Georgia facility has grown steadily over the decades. "I remember when there were 250 employees. There are 1,180 people working here now," says Meggitt Polymers and Composites Deputy President John Skubina.
Quality workforce development has been a core part of that growth. Georgia Quick Start and Coosa Valley Technical College, now Georgia Northwestern Technical College, have provided it.
In 2011, Meggitt's plant was named Georgia Manufacturer of the Year.
Presenting the award to Meggitt, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said, ""Georgia has the right to be very proud of our technical college system, and especially our Quick Start program that allows employers to have the trained and skilled workforce that they need, when they need it.”