A scene from GE Aviation’s LEAP engine assembly facility in Indiana. 
Photo: CONTRIBUTED
Photo: CONTRIBUTED

GE Aviation makes push for area workers

GE Aviation plans to hire about 70 new employees in the Dayton area and will host a job fair Saturday to help recruit for the open jobs.

The fresh push for local workers comes as a new report shows that Ohio ranks among the top 10 states as a haven for aerospace businesses.

Ohio ranked 8th in “aerospace attractiveness,” according to consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and its annual look at the aerospace industry. The study ranks states by labor and business costs, infrastructure, economy, tax environment and other factors.

Ohio is home to more than 540 private aviation and aerospace companies and counts itself as a leading supplier to both Airbus and Boeing, according to JobsOhio, the state’s private development arm.

Chief among them: GE Aviation. With its largest engine order backlog in history, GE Aviation anchors much of its manufacturing in Ohio, with more than 9,000 Buckeye State jobs.

The company has 1,500 area employees working in four facilities — GE Dayton-Elan Unison in Beavercreek, GE Episcenter in Dayton, GE Tech Development in Butler Twp., and GE-Vandalia — sites which see a $1 billion annual investment, according to the company.

Maurice “Mo” McDonald, Dayton Development Coalition executive vice president, aerospace and defense, notes that these jobs typically pay well.

“These are very professional jobs, well-paying jobs across the aerospace community,” he said.

Toni Ravenel, a GE Aviation site human resources manager, said the company has about 70 local openings. Applicants interested in Saturday’s event should come with a resume. While there won’t be formal interviews, there will be some “preliminary screening,” Ravenel said.

“Come with your resume and be prepared to have a dialogue about what you’re interested in,” she said.

McDonald is familiar with the state’s strong pull on aerospace companies. He and coalition colleagues have shared that message as they attend international events, such as the Paris Air Show and the Farnborough International Air Show in England.

“It’s actually welcoming or exciting to hear that the message is getting out in other parts of the country,” McDonald said. “Ohio is a significant force not only in the companies that are here in the aerospace industry, but also its workforce.”

It’s not just GE Aviation. Boeing, Airbus, Northrop Grumman and others, including suppliers, are shaping the future of aerospace in Ohio, McDonald said.

Of course, the state is home also to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, its largest single-site employer with about 30,000 military and civilian employees in one location. Wright-Patterson is the headquarters for Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), while Springfield is home to AFRL’s Ohio Unmanned Aircraft Systems Center.

In all, the state is home to more than 38,000 private aerospace and aviation professionals, according to JobsOhio.

PwC ranked the top ten states as Washington, Georgia, California, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Arizona and Oregon.

Nationally in 2018, the aerospace and defense industry reported record operating profits of $81 billion, a 9 percent increase over the prior year, PwC said. This year, the industry expects continued growth, driven by defense spending, projected increases in aircraft deliveries and more.

“Passenger growth continues to increase as does global defense spending,” PwC said. “The current backlog of aircraft orders will take about 6 to 8 years to clear even with companies hitting record production levels. The U.S. A&D industry performed especially well in 2018, with exports totaling $151 billion, an increase of 5.8 percent from the previous year, accounting for 9 percent of U.S. exports and yielding a $90 billion trade surplus.”

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