Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for the first time in decades employs more than 30,000 people, base officials confirmed to the Dayton Daily News.
"We have worked as a region, as a community executing a strategic plan for the synergies and the growth that has occurred here," said Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, Ohio's during a meeting of the National Aviation Heritage Alliance this week. "What's important is that it's all innovation. We're not a base that has a lot of planes. We're a base that has a lot of scientists, engineers, people who are working diligently to advance knowledge and advance capabilities and what we might be able to do for the future."
The milestone marks the first time Wright-Patt has employed more than 30,000 people in 30 years, according to data provided by the base. Before 1989, Wright-Patt hadn't employed more than 30,000 since 1964.
At it's peak during World War II, the base employed around 46,500 military and civilian employees, the data shows.
Several areas of growth have likely contributed to the base's recent upswing in employment. Last year it was announced that an F-35 sustainment program will move to the base while the National Air and Space Intelligence Center at Wright-Patt has also added several employees in recent years.
The F-35 program could bring at least 400 jobs to the base, Turner along with U.S. Senators Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced last year. The program will become fully operational at Wright-Patt by the spring of 2022, an Air Force Materiel Command spokesman told the Dayton Daily News.
As national decision makers and others have demanded more intelligence, NASIC's workforce has increased by about 1,500 employees, or 100 a year between 2000 to 2015, according to the agency.
The intelligence agency is also in the midst of a massive $182-million building expansion project that is one of the largest in Wright-Patt's history. The building will bring employees in six different locations into one facility and will add 900 seats to house intelligence analysts and engineers and add labs.
While the milestone seals Wright-Patt's spot as one of the state's largest employers, it also means the base continues to be one of the Air Force's biggest installations, said Maurice "Mo" McDonald, executive vice president of aerospace and defense for the Dayton Development Coalition.
"We are extremely excited with the job growth that's happened at Wright Patt," McDonald said. "It's a testament to the work that they do there."
This article is written by Max Filby from The Dayton Daily News and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.