This week the Moore School of Business released a cluster aviation study outlining the current aviation assets in South Carolina and ranked the Lowcountry second, next to Charleston, in aviation assets and infrastructure.
"The Lowcountry Economic Alliance identified two years ago through our Targeted Industry Study that Second and Third-Tier Aviation Suppliers are a tremendous market for Beaufort County. This study is yet another supporting document indicating the value of our existing military aviation infrastructure to leverage new investment," said David Tigges, Chairman of the Lowcountry Economic Alliance.
Kim Statler, Executive Director of the Lowcountry Economic Alliance, represented Beaufort County on a statewide panel discussion with aviation leaders to share the strategies currently being deployed by the Alliance and the unique attributes of the Lowcountry. Specific attention was given to the organization's strategic efforts to embrace the exiting military and the tremendous value of this labor pool to the private sector.
"Labor is a tremendous issue for all industry sectors, but specifically, the aviation sector. The skill sets are very specific and to have so many former Marines exiting right here in Beaufort with high level aviation skills, is an incredible advantage for business recruitment," said Al Spain, LEA Board Member and one of the founders of JetBlue Airways.
"I am very encouraged by the report and the potential for Beaufort County," said County Councilman Jerry Stewart, "However, I am concerned that we need to be more aggressive in our efforts as a County to take action to create more quality job opportunities for our citizens. In the last three years, we have lost more than 1000 jobs in the Lowcountry, and we must reverse this trend."
The report also highlights the compensation for aviation employees. The average employee compensation in aviation is $71,000/year compared to the average SC employee with compensation of $41,000/year.