The aerospace and defense industry employs 170,000 people in Ohio and is expected to grow by 20 percent in the next five years.
The Aerospace Professional Development Center will unite education with aerospace and defense industry partners to leverage regional capabilities and build a pipeline of talent that flows seamlessly from higher education to the workforce. This model will ensure that Ohio has the highly skilled aerospace and defense workforce needed by employers today and to shape the community in the future.
The center will serve employees entering the workforce for the first time, transitioning employees and veterans. It will continue to work with Ohio’s aerospace and defense employers, assess the workforce and provide critical career assessments and placement opportunities to grow the defense industry in Ohio.
“The Aerospace Professional Development Center creates opportunities for our region and our state that are unmatched across the nation. We are working to build the most robust workforce in the nation for aerospace and defense companies,” said Dennis Andersh, CEO of the Wright State Applied Research Corporation, an affiliate of the university that supports the Wright State Research Institute and growth in basic and applied research and development.
Cassie Barlow joined Wright State as APDC’s executive director in September 2014. Barlow retired last July as commander at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s 88th Air Base Wing following a distinguished 26-year military career. At Wright-Patt she commanded one of the largest air base wings in the Air Force with more than 5,000 Air Force military, civilian and contractor employees.
Barlow earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Georgetown University, a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Chapman University and a doctorate in industrial and organizational psychology from Rice University. She holds two additional master’s degrees in military operational art and science and national security.
The APDC was created in 2012 to help Ohio target the closely related aerospace and defense sectors for growth. Aerospace and defense needs are in fields such as parts manufacturing and supply, research in composites, propulsion and fuel, the development and manufacturing of unmanned aircraft, evaluation and testing, machining and materials and coatings.
“The APDC is working very closely with the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center and the Regional STEM Collaborative to enhance workforce development efforts across the region and state,” Andersh said.