Flight Works Alabama, a new aviation experience center near Airbus’ manufacturing facility in Mobile, is ready to begin its take off.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey joined Airbus executives, city and county leaders from Mobile, and industry and educational partners in breaking ground for the hands-on instructional facility.
In May 2017, Ivey announced plans to build the center, with a goal to bolster Alabama’s workforce development efforts and inspire young people to pursue careers in aerospace.
Wednesday’s event officially launched construction of the facility, which is due to open in late 2019.
“Success for Airbus, and any company, means we can’t just look at what we’re doing now; we need to look at what we need later — whether it be next year, next decade or the next five decades,” Airbus Americas Chairman and CEO Jeff Knittel said during the ceremony.
“What Airbus and other companies in our industry need to be successful in the future is a skilled, knowledgeable workforce that is ready for that future. Flight Works will help us create that workforce in a fun, creative way,” he said.
Flight Works Alabama will be an 18,000-square-foot experience center housing a large interactive exhibition area, classrooms, a collaboration room, a workshop, a restaurant and a gift shop.
Situated near the campus of Airbus’ aircraft manufacturing facility at the Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, the center will also be a gateway for public tours of Airbus’ A320 family assembly line.
“Aerospace is a premier industry, filled with innovative developments and high-demand jobs, which are sought after by every state,” Ivey said. “Flight Works Alabama will become a hub to explore the opportunities of this industry.
“As our state continues to grow this sector, we must show Alabamians all that the aerospace industry can offer them, today and in the years ahead,” she said.
In addition to the experience center, the facility will host educational opportunities for adults seeking new or expanded skills in the industry.
Nine education partners have signed on to provide these opportunities. They are Auburn University, Bishop State Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Troy University, Tuskegee University, University of South Alabama, University of Alabama and University of West Alabama.
Industry and community sponsors for the project were also named at the ceremony, including the Airbus Foundation, Alabama Power Foundation, Conde Systems, the Mobile County Commission, Mott MacDonald, Hoar Program Management, Johnson Controls, Mech-Net, Pratt & Whitney, Safran and Snap-On.
Airbus said other sponsorships are in development.
Airbus launched production of A320 Family aircraft at the Mobile manufacturing facility in 2015. The $600 million complex now produces four aircraft a month and employs more than 400 people.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.