So how tech-savvy is Wichita?
Very, according to a new study by Wichita State University’s Center for Economic Development and Business Research.
The study is being used by local economic development staff members this week to sweet-talk companies at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Orlando, Fla.
The study measures the concentration of engineering and technical manufacturing skills among U.S. cities that have aerospace manufacturing. Wichita has the highest concentration of engineers and the most skilled workforce among 10 top aviation cities. But it also demonstrated that the skills and knowledge that those workers have in abundance can be translated into related fields.
The cities included in the study were Wichita; Seattle; Savannah, Ga.; Melbourne, Fla.; Oklahoma City; Mobile, Ala.; Los Angeles; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Charleston, S.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Tulsa; and Phoenix.
“It’s standard in the economic development world to say that we have the best workforce, the best quality of life, the best transportation system, but there hasn’t been any way to prove that,” said Tim Chase, president of the Greater Wichita Economic Development Coalition, who is in Orlando at the NBAA conference.
This breaks it down by specific skill, he said. The pitch at this event and others, said Chase, is not only that these workers could help a company now but that they could help companies as they evolve – or they can do work in other advanced manufacturing businesses.
“This gives us a tool to go out to the marketplace and say that we have the best workforce and we can prove it,” Chase said. “That is a bold and powerful statement.”