Standing at the front of a strong heritage in aviation, Utah continues to thrive in the aerospace industry as one of the top states in aerospace employment. To honor Utah’s accomplishments in aviation and in recognition of the impact of the industry in America, Utah will join with the country in celebration of National Aerospace Week, held Sept. 14-20.

“Utah has a rich heritage in aerospace and defense, and that heritage continues today and will carry into the future,” said Governor Gary R. Herbert. “We benefit from a collaborative relationship between our aerospace and composite companies, local communities, defense contractors, academia and state government leaders. This relationship creates an environment in which our aerospace and defense industries can grow and be successful.”

As part of Utah’s observance of National Aerospace Week, Governor Gary R. Herbert will address Utah Aerospace and Defense executives at an Air Force Association, Industrial Associates luncheon on Sept. 15 in Layton where he will present the state’s economic development initiatives with an emphasis on aerospace and defense.

Utah is one of the top states in the nation in aerospace employment, currently with about 105 companies in the industry, employing about 20,000 people. Utah’s Aerospace and Defense economic cluster represents about 4.5 percent of all state wages, with an average wage in the industry at roughly 90 percent higher than Utah’s average annual wage.

“With companies such as Boeing, ATK and Northrup Grumman, and with major industry supply chain players like Exelis, Janicki and Rockwell Collins, along with installations such as Hill Air Force Base, Utah has the capabilities and facilities to support the most forward aerospace technologies,” said Marshall Wright, director of business development at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

Utah’s heritage in aerospace is strongly supplemented at the college and university level where Utah’s higher education programs are educating thousands of students annually in aerospace programs, guiding students to become the future of the aerospace workforce. These colleges and universities help hundreds of students graduate annually with the skill set to keep Utah at the top in the nation’s aerospace industry.

In 2010, the Aerospace Industries Association and both houses of the U.S. Congress sought to recognize the contribution of the aerospace and defense industry to the American economy and national security by establishing National Aerospace Week annually as the third week of September. For more information on National Aerospace Week, visit www.nationalaerospaceweek.org.