News Releases

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies – today announced a grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to Wichita State University (WSU) during a news conference at WSU.

“Wichita State continues to be a shining example of how public-private partnerships can provide students with hands-on learning experiences while bolstering communities,” said Sen. Moran. “Wichita’s continued emphasis on shaping and designing an education platform to align with 21st Century workforce needs is critical as we work to continue fueling the manufacturing and aviation industries. The EDA grant will support the purchase of necessary advanced manufacturing equipment, and, in turn, create over 150 new jobs in the region. As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee which funds the EDA, I will continue to highlight the strengths of our Universities and industries within the state, allowing them to capitalize on these opportunities.”

This $2 million grant will help purchase necessary advanced manufacturing equipment to establish the Automated Technology Laboratory for Advanced Structures (ATLAS) at WSU’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). The ATLAS initiative at WSU will help industry leaders in the region increase the quality and production of commercial and defense aircraft by bolstering available resources for research and development. Several local corporate partners will utilize space and equipment from this EDA investment, including Spirit AeroSystems, Airbus, Cox Machine, Bombardier and Cessna. The project is expected to create 150 jobs in the Wichita region.

“The Trump Administration continues to rebuild the American manufacturing sector in communities across the country,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment will help Wichita State University spur new manufacturing ventures in the region while training workers to support this resurgent industry.”

“In the current environment, there are increasing pressures facing the aerospace and defense industries to innovate with flat budgets, record-setting production rates, increasingly complex programs and an evolving workforce,” said WSU Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer John Tomblin. “Investments in emerging advanced manufacturing technologies are critical to maintain economic growth in our region. We want to thank the EDA for acknowledging the importance of the advanced manufacturing sector in South Central Kansas with this investment.”

ATLAS will be located at NIAR headquarters building on the campus of Wichita State. The first floor will house manufacturing development facilities with computer-aided simulations and analysis on the third floor.

ATLAS already has several strategic partnerships with government agencies, aircraft manufacturers, equipment suppliers, material suppliers and other universities. In addition to support from the EDA, ATLAS has received significant funding from the Office of Naval Research and State of Kansas for acquiring advanced AFP equipment, inspection systems and test systems.

This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the South Central Kansas Economic Development District (SCKEDD). EDA funds the SCKEDD to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.

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