Regional Profile

In today’s economy, the single most important point of competitiveness is an organization’s workforce. Nothing is more important to its success. The Aerospace Alliance states have a deep supply of aerospace professionals in all industry skill sets. In addition, the states’ pro-business climate has spawned hundreds of aerospace entrepreneurs further enriching and supporting the growth of the industry across the region.



The Aerospace Alliance states are home to more than 92,000 active duty personnel, nearly 68,000 civilian personnel[1] and 1.24 million veterans.[2]

In total, nearly 200,000[3] professionals work in aviation and aerospace industries both directly and indirectly ranging from manufacturing-related occupations, engineers, designers, pilots, computer technologists, machinists to yes, even rocket scientists. Some of the brightest minds in the sector, both public and private, are tasked with building today’s aircraft and imagining and designing tomorrow’s spacecraft.



The region’s schools, colleges, universities, training centers and centers of excellence inspire and help develop the talent that fills today’s demand for outstanding workers. As important, these institutions are continually looking to the needs of industry for tomorrow’s workforce. Colleges and universities in the Aerospace Alliance states are among the nation’s top producers of STEM graduates, including many specializing in aviation and aerospace. Further, the region produces thousands of “badgeable” workers certificated in a range of pertinent skills.


Universities Offering Aerospace Engineering Degrees[4]


Auburn University

University of Alabama

Tuskegee University

University of Alabama Huntsville

Calhoun Community College

Coastal Alabama Community College

Enterprise State Community College

Snead State Community Colleges

Wallace State Community College-Hanceville



Florida Institute of Technology

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

Florida International University

University of Central Florida

University of Florida

University of Miami


Louisiana Tech University

Louisiana State University


Mississippi State University

Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor Overview

Learn more about the aerospace and aviation activities in the region between Southeast Louisiana and Northwest Florida by downloading the Gulf Coast Reporters’ League Gulf Coast Aerospace Corridor overview – now in its seventh edition. The latest publication provides additional context about the tremendous growth of aerospace and aviation activities in all four states. 


University of Alabama in Huntsville’s College of Engineering includes a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department (MAE)

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Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Aeronautics in Melbourne

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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recently opened the John Mica Engineering and  Aerospace Innovation Complex

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The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Polymers and High Performance  Materials

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Regional Education Highlights


University of Alabama

University of Alabama in Huntsville’s College of Engineering includes a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department (MAE). The College of Engineering is currently the largest college on campus and with enrollment doubling over the last eight years. Currently, the MAE department is going through a phase of rapid growth and is embarking on a 50 percent growth in full-time faculty positions, lecturers, and support staff. The university includes 16 high-tech research centers and labs responsible for close to $90 million in research expenditures, serves the anchor tenant for the second-largest research park in the nation. It maintains strong partnerships with federal agencies and commercial organizations that include the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the Missile Defense Agency, the DIA Missile and Space Intelligence Center, and the U.S. Army Materiel Command.


Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Aeronautics in Melbourne

Florida Institute of Technology’s College of Aeronautics in Melbourne is recognized as one of the top university-based aviation programs in the nation. The College provides graduate and undergraduate programs in the Aeronautical Sciences to include Aviation Management, Pilot/Flight Crew, Meteorology, Airport Management and Development, Human Factors, and Aviation Safety. The college enrolls 400 undergraduate and graduate students in programs on its Melbourne campus, in its Aeronautical Science Program in Panama, and many others through distance learning. The College of Aeronautics manages several locations in the Melbourne area including the Center for Aeronautics and Innovation, Emil Buehler Center for Aviation Training and Research and Skurla Hall.[5]  At each location students have access to unique facilities and equipment like classrooms, computer labs, flight simulators, and a flight line with a fleet of more than 40 aircraft.


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recently opened the John Mica Engineering and  Aerospace Innovation Complex. Featuring engineering labs, a business incubator and flexible lease space for corporate and industry partnerships, the "MicaPlex" serves as a hub for engineering innovation, research and economic development for the university, the state and beyond. The hybrid research center and startup business incubator represents a new future for Embry-Riddle and Volusia County, bringing together scientists, business experts, venture capitalists and top staff from the university’s three campuses. The complex has more than 10,000 square feet of flexible lease space, office space, mixed-use space and laboratories. Researchers can use the in-house labs to study everything from drones to climate systems. The MicaPlex is the center of a larger research park, which will focus on aviation, space, engineering and unmanned systems.


USM School of Polymers and High Performance Materials

The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) School of Polymers and High Performance  Materials offers a cross-discipline mix of researchers from chemistry, physics, chemical engineering and biochemistry that attracts additional aviation and aerospace manufacturing to the state. Building on existing partnerships in the industry, USM researchers are developing new composite materials that are “faster, higher, stronger.” The composites will be used to build stronger, more durable materials for applications in areas such as next-generation marine and aerospace vehicles. These lightweight, high-performance composite parts are utilized in GE Aviation's GEnx engine on Boeing 787 and 747-8 aircrafts. In addition, USM also features The Garden, a 521-acre innovation and commercialization park where the university’s cutting-edge research is transformed into valued products and services for the marketplace. The Garden is also home to the Mississippi Polymer Institute which is the industrial outreach arm of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials and the National Formulation Science Laboratory, which houses laboratory space, a business incubator known as The Accelerator and other research facilities.

[1] Governing Magazine: Data current as of May 31, 2016; Defense Manpower Data Center: Active Duty Master Personnel File, Reserve Components Common Personnel Data System
[2] US Department of Veteran’s Affairs
[3] Aerospace Industries Association State Data
[5] FIT College of Aeronautics Facilities