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Southwest Airlines to sponsor local aviation workforce grant

The largest airline at Milwaukee's flagship airport will sponsor a grant for local aviation workforce development.

Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV) has awarded a grant of unspecified value to the Greater Milwaukee Committee as part of a nationwide grant program. The grant, which will be officially announced at Bradley Tech High School Friday, will fund a program called Expanding Milwaukee's Aviation Pipeline, which also includes Bradley Tech and Milwaukee Area Technical College as partners.

Julia Taylor, president of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, cited several statistics about the aerospace industry's importance to Wisconsin. Principally, more than 24,000 people are employed in Wisconsin by companies that support the aerospace manufacturing sector, and aircraft, spacecraft and parts make up the seventh largest category of Wisconsin exports.

"The development of the aerospace cluster within Wisconsin calls for an expanding workforce," Taylor said. "The partners will work to align existing programs and expand enrollment in MATC's aviation program to increase the number of workforce-ready candidates."

Taylor further described the program as a "pipeline" to MATC's aviation technician program.

The unspecified funding from Southwest Airlines is part of a $1 million program created by the Dallas-based airline as a result of the tax savings the company gained from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The Greater Milwaukee Committee was one of 24 nonprofits to receive grant money.

"These organizations each follow one of our company's key missions that contribute to developing the workforce of tomorrow by building stronger, more resilient communities," said Bob Jordan, Southwest's executive vice president of corporate services.

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