BY MICHAELE DUKE
More than 400 aerospace firms currently operate in South Carolina with an annual employment growth of 11.4 percent thanks in part to Boeing.
Williamsburg County has yet to be part of that growth but the future is looking brighter. On January 11, 2016, aerospace giant Boeing will hold a community presentation “Day of Boeing” at Santee Electric Cooperative at 424 Sumter Highway in Kingstree. The event starts at 6 p.m. and everyone is welcome.
According to a press release issued by the South Carolina Department of Commerce, officials with Boeing of South Carolina will visit the public and private schools and spend time with local leaders and Williamsburg County Economic Development administration. “This is part of what Boeing has wanted and we’ve been encouraging in the General Assembly for Boeing to really show how it is a part of all our communities,” said Senator Ronnie Sabb. “One of the things we know about Boeing in our conversations with them – they are not Boeing of Charleston, they are Boeing of South Carolina and there is a desire of Boeing to be a part and partner of all our communities.”
Aerospace contributes $17 billion in economic output and supports more than 100,000 jobs. For every 10 jobs that are created in the private sector component of the aerospace cluster in South Carolina, an additional 12 jobs are created elsewhere in the state. Sabb, who recently toured the Boeing facility with fellow democratic senators, said they want to let Boeing know that Williamsburg County has a ready workforce and people that have a desire to be trained for jobs with Boeing and Boeing suppliers. “We are right down the street, up Hwy. 52, four lanes all the way,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to let Boeing know who we are and gives Boeing an opportunity to let us know more about what they do.”
The South Carolina Department of Commerce, Williamsburg County Government, Williamsburg Technical College and Hemingway Career Technology Center, among others will host the event.
Boeing South Carolina is home to the company’s second 787 Dreamliner final assembly and delivery facility. The site, which is located in North Charleston, fabricates, assembles and installs systems for sections of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and joins and integrates midbody fuselage sections.
In 2014, the north campus expanded with the opening of the Boeing Research & Technology Center and more recently broke ground on a new state-of-the-art, 256,000-square-foot decorative paint facility to open in late 2016.