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SoCal Businesses, Universities Lobby to Bring Aerospace Back to Region

Local aerospace and manufacturing industries will get first crack at $1.3 billion in federal money for workforce development, research and other areas.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

Southern California's aerospace and manufacturing industries will get first crack at $1.3 billion in federal money for workforce development, research and other areas, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today.

The Southern California region was named one of a dozen "manufacturing communities" by the  Commerce Department, which means local aerospace and manufacturing businesses will get preferential access to funds to help them grow, according to Garcetti.

Local businesses and organizations will also get assistance from federal liaisons who will guide them through the process of applying for the funds, the mayor said.

The federal assistance will give the local aerospace and manufacturing industries a much-needed boost, he said.

"L.A. has been the king of aerospace for decades," Garcetti said. "We fell asleep at the switch, but this is our wake-up call."

With the designation, the federal government "recognized" that the Los Angeles region has "a unique ability to engineer, manufacture and ship; that our trade and logistics are unparalleled because of the port and the airport; we're still the manufacturing capital, and we've got this incredible academic base for engineering and innovation," Garcetti said.

The special status came in response to an application from the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership for Southern California, or AMP SoCal, a coalition that includes aerospace businesses, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory near Pasadena, community colleges and universities and government agencies from Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and San Diego counties.

Garcetti said he started the process during his mayoral campaign when he convened a team of "aerospace folks." Once in office, the mayor said he worked with leaders in the aerospace industry and the University of Southern California to submit an application to the Commerce Department.

The application gave examples of innovation taking place in the Los Angeles area, including the use of video gaming technology in the aerospace industry and the creation of unique, composite materials to replace metals used in airplanes and space vehicles, Garcetti said.

Garcetti, who discussed the designation during a news conference at the California Science Center, said his "top priority is to leave the recession in the rearview mirror by making sure Los Angeles is ready for the jobs and industries of tomorrow."

"We've been aggressive," he said. "Today's announcement is the result of us being loud and clear in Washington that we're serious about investing in jobs here in California."

Kish Rajan, director of Gov. Jerry Brown's Office of Business and Economic Development, said the "designation as a national manufacturing community further underscores California's place as the U.S. leader in manufacturing companies, jobs and output."

The governor plans to work with Garcetti "to continue to deliver resources to Southern California's manufacturing companies," Rajan said.

The news was also cheered by members of Congress.

Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Arleta, said California "is the hub of innovation in the United States and our manufacturing workers are second-to-none."

"I am excited that the Department of Commerce chose Southern California for one of the partnerships," he said.

Southern California has 80 percent of the state's aerospace employees, with 17 percent of the nation's aerospace production taking place within the state, according to Cardenas.

In 2011, the local aerospace industry produced more than $31 billion in goods, his office said.

Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Los Angeles, said with financial assistance from the federal government, "I am certain that our region's best manufacturing days lie ahead of us."

--City News Service


John May 29, 2014 at 10:42 PM
Yes Zeigler is right. We are near the middle in regulations and taxes. Since we have a state with a high population we do need to have strict environmental standards and most of the nation follows us, yes global warming is a real problem. I remember growing up in Fountain Valley in the 70's and every dad worked for aerospace like Hughs, Douglas or Garettee.We have ports and an educated workforce, where some of these states like Texas comes short. These are good union jobs with good pay and thats the type of citizen we want here, buying cars, houses and paying taxes. Hope this works for CA.
Ziegler May 29, 2014 at 11:40 PM
THANK YOU JOHN. I wuld like to see the Government invest in our people and our Vets in particular. At the end of WW2 under the G.I. Bill we built millions of homes and built up the suburbs nationwide. As a result everything flourished financially. Lumber copper, plumbing, furniture - everything that went into a house was doing extremely well, and that meant jobs galore. Going step by step, we note that meant buying power and the creation of a large middle class. With income they could spend in the marketplace- consumerism was born. Now they needed cars to get to school and work- more jobs to build and sell cars. Whoops cars need roads. Did that too and there were more jobs. On top of that the G.I. bill gave FREE UNIVERSITY EDUCATIONS TO ANY VETS WHO WANTED IT. We got doctors, lawyers, scientists, artists, researchers, engineers, etc.out of it. What a boon to this country that was. All of these worker were paying income tax now, the money flowed inward instesad of out in the form of welfare to the needy. WE had no needy. We had overcome the depression even with the war machine gone. We did not need to build more ships and planes but we had jobs. The G.I Bill did that and turned us into the super country of the world! No other overt action can one point to that illustrates more clearl what the investment in our people meant to us. Despite the fact that millions of young people were returning from the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of war, and despite the fact that Rosie the Riveter was now retiring from the war effort and went home to start a family, we did not return to a depression. Are there lessons to be learned here? you bet!
John May 30, 2014 at 01:01 AM
We do have a very disciplined and tuned worker and they are the returning vets. You see Walmart posting on how they are hiring vets which is better then nothing, but those types of jobs pay nothing and most Walmart employees are on some type of public assistance. When my dad returned home from the war his job was waiting for him and a female occupied his job. She could not wait to go home and get out of the factory. My dad worked there for 35 years and got a real pension not a crappy 401k. We need massive government infusion in the instructure of our country with new roads, water lines etc. Private industry cannot do that. This will also create millions of good paying jobs and the government will collect massive amounts of taxes off the paychecks of a stronger middle class. That is why we see a shrinking middle class because these type of good paying manufacturing jobs have vanished and how many lawyers do we really need. Also remember that weather plays a major role in manufacturing and we do have the best weather in the world. It will be really great getting aerospace back!
Charles Murray May 30, 2014 at 09:43 AM
.......And I just heard on KTLA News this morning (Fri), that the CA Senate is sending up more bills (in effect to run businesses ou) ; one with an increase in the minimum wage from the current $8.xx to $13/hr by 2017, and to impose three paid sick days for all workers, sick or not (in other words as they put it; an extra hour's pay for every thirty hours worked). If I were a small, medium, or large business CEO, I'd take that as a nail in my coffin, if I were considering staying (or launching new) in CA! Charles M.
Stan Jacobs May 31, 2014 at 10:51 PM
Their greatest opponents will be the "avoid carbon footprints at any cost" manics and the labor unions.

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