Recent tenant expansions at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility have spurred nearly 250 new jobs in the aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors, building on the New Orleans East facility's central role in developing the world's most powerful rocket.
Chicago-based Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, added about 200 workers this year, bringing its tally to roughly 600, officials said Wednesday. The bulk of them are working on NASA's Space Launch System, the mega-rock designed to transport astronauts into deep space by 2025 and Mars not long after.
As the space industry grows, Boeing expects to add more jobs, officials said.
Additionally, state officials, including Gov. John Bel Edwards and Louisiana Community and Technical College System President Monty Sullivan, announced plans to create a training center for the aerospace manufacturing sector at Nunez Community College in St. Bernard Parish. It will help prepare students for careers at Michoud and other regional employers.
Other NASA-led initiatives underway at Michoud include developing liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen tanks that make up key aspects of the SLS program. Boeing is leading SLS production operations at Michoud while Lockheed Martin serves as lead assembly contractor for the Orion space capsule.
Also on Wednesday, Edwards said the state had lured its first capital investment from the Republic of Turkey. The parent of Sinter Metal Technologies plans to spend $5 million at Michoud to develop bond powder-based metals into strong precision parts. The investment is expected to create 15 new jobs paying $55,000 per year on average, plus benefits.
Meanwhile, existing Michoud tenant Advance Cutting Solutions LLC, which specializes in kit-cutting for composite materials that serve the wind-energy and maritime industries, plans to spend $500,000 expanding its operations at the facility. The company will add 30 jobs, paying an average $40,000 annually, plus benefits, officials said.
To land the Sinter deal, Louisiana Economic Development offered the company an incentive package that included FastStart job training as well as participating in its Quality Jobs Program, which provides a cash rebate of up to 6 percent of a company's annual payroll for as long as a decade. The company also was offered a performance-based forgivable loan worth as much as $250,000.
Advance Cutting Solutions' incentives included the FastStart training and Quality Jobs programs, as well as the state's industrial tax exemption program.
The flurry of announcements, Edwards said, "are positioning Michoud Assembly Facility for a new aerospace era that will drive innovation, employment and economic growth for Louisiana."
Additionally, Nunez Community College in St. Bernard Parish is working with the facility's tenants, including Boeing, to develop job training programs that align with the skills needed to work at Michoud. To get that done, LED is providing $500,000 to expand training programs at Nunez, a figure being matched by the Louisiana Community and Technical College System, officials said.