U.S. Department of Commerce Assistant Secretary for Economic Development John R. Fernandez has announced a $1.94 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to the Wichita Airport Authority to strengthen South Central Kansas’ critical aviation cluster by providing infrastructure to support the expansion of a major aircraft manufacturing facility. The project is expected to create 300 jobs and spur $60 million in private investment.
“The [federal government] has made significant investments to grow the South Central Kansas manufacturing sector and strengthen the region’s aeronautics cluster,” Fernandez said. “This $1.9 million EDA grant will build on that progress and help an anchor Wichita aircraft manufacturing operation expand and create new jobs.”
The EDA investment will support the construction of infrastructure improvements on land owned by the Wichita Airport Authority adjacent to the Bombardier Flight Test Center in Wichita. The enhancements will allow a major renovation of Bombardier’s production facilities to include new buildings to accommodate production of the new LearJet 85 aircraft and a new Center for Excellence for Engineering and Information Technology.
The investment builds on a recent $2 million, multi-agency Jobs and Innovation Accelerator grant to Wichita State University’s Center for Innovation and Enterprise Engagement that is supporting the south central Kansas region’s efforts to jumpstart advanced manufacturing and create the jobs of the future.
The Jobs Accelerator project targets two manufacturing industries-wind turbine and medical equipment-to encourage the migration of technology into the region’s economy to develop composite and advanced materials products and processes and bring with it new, high-paying jobs. Other opportunities are also expected to come in other industries involved in the composite materials sector in the region.