...And Looks For More

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Meanwhile, back in Wichita -- home to the vast majority of general aviation's manufacturing capacity -- city fathers are looking to help ensure the industry continues to call the area home by developing an aircraft maintenance training facility at the local Col. James Jabara Airport. According to The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle newspaper, the city plans to develop an existing building at the airport to house the ongoing program, currently run by the Kansas Technical Training Initiative (KTTI) and the Cowley County Community College. The KTTI is a coalition of local aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing, Cessna, Raytheon and Bombardier, plus city and county officials, said the newspaper. The idea is to continue developing the area's workforce and ensuring that manufacturers have a more highly skilled pool from which to draw future employees. That, in turn, will help ensure the area's economic future, at least until the next industry downturn. In recent years, through increased automation and troubling economic cycles, thousands have been laid off from their manufacturing jobs. In previous years, that pool of skilled workers came from the military, but those workers are approaching retirement age. "We are the Air Capital of the World, and we don't want anyone to have any doubts about that," council member Carl Brewer was quoted as saying, according to the newspaper.