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Department of Commerce Awards Nearly $20 Million in Aviation Workforce Development Grants

Jun 16, 2023

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TOPEKA – Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland announced today that nearly $20 million has been awarded to seven recipients for training and workforce development initiatives in the aviation and aerospace industry. Funding was made available through the Aviation Learning Opportunities & Funded Training (ALOFT) program launched by Commerce earlier this year. The Department of Commerce received 12 applications, with requests totaling more than $33,000,000.

“Training up skilled Kansans to better align with emerging technologies in this sector is critical,” Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of Commerce David Toland said. “ALOFT funding is designed to maintain our best-in-class status.”

The funds were designated by the Strengthening People and Revitalizing Kansas (SPARK) Executive Committee and approved by the State Finance Council to provide impactful capital projects that spur regional economic development in the aviation industry, one of the most affected industries by COVID-19.

“Aviation and aerospace contribute a significant portion of our state’s $14 billion export business,” Senate President Ty Masterson said. “The ALOFT awards will help ensure the Aviation Capital of the World has enough talent to keep providing superior services and products across the globe.”

Kansas is home to more than 450 aviation companies that generate 4% of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP). No less than 70% of the world’s current embedded general aviation fleet was made in Kansas.

ALOFT applications included investments in aviation and aerospace manufacturers, supply-chain providers, and local airports.

Award recipients will use funds toward:

  • Construction of on-site training facilities and service expansions
  • Third-party and vendor training costs on machinery and equipment
  • Machinery and equipment used for training
  • Salaries directly related to training, youth training services, and costs related to early interest development in aviation and aerospace industries
  • Course development costs and services for development of in-house training, marketing, communication and activities to attract talent to aviation and aerospace industries
  • Participation costs for the Kansas Registered Apprenticeship and Workforce AID programs.

Awardees will have two years to complete their projects and utilize all awarded funds.

“Kansas workers require the best training available in order to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow,” House Speaker Daniel Hawkins said. “The aviation and aerospace industry is taking off now that the public health emergency is behind us.”

The ALOFT grant awardees include:

  • Learjet, Inc., Wichita, $3,325,000
  • Metal Finishing Company, Wichita, $243,200
  • Orizon Aerostructures, LLC, Olathe, $3,325,000
  • Salina Airport Authority, Salina, $3,325,000
  • Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc., Wichita, $3,325,000
  • Textron Aviation Inc., Wichita, $3,325,000
  • Wichita Airport Authority, Wichita, $2,211,503

For more information about the program, click here.