The greater Wichita area is highly industrialized and home to nearly 900 manufacturing firms.
Manufacturing accounts for 17.5% of employment – over double the national percentage (8.5%.)
Of the 100 largest U.S. metro areas – Wichita ranks #1 in manufacturing jobs as percent of all jobs, and #3 in percent of manufacturing jobs classified as “very high-tech.” (Brookings Institution – 2012.)
Much of the workforce is accustomed to shift work due to the industrial history of the area.
Products which flow from Wichita manufacturers may generally be characterized as high-tech and high value-added. Those products include transportation equipment (primarily aircraft), industrial-commercial machinery, computer equipment, fabricated metal products, instrumentation and controls, photographic equipment, plastic and composite products (an offshoot of aviation industry research & development), chemicals, petroleum refining equipment and electronic equipment.
National Center for Aviation Training is a $50 million (224,000 square foot) world-class aviation and advanced general manufacturing training center on the grounds of Jabara Airport in northeast Wichita. NCAT development is overseen by Sedgwick County Technical Education & Training Authority (SCTETA) in order to assure a steady supply of qualified workers for the regional aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. NCAT facilities allow realistic hands-on training on the latest manufacturing equipment. NCAT has capacity to provide technical training for at least 1,500 students in both day and night classes. Groundbreaking occurred in March 2008, and classes at the site began in August 2010. Between NCAT's aviation building and advanced manufacturing building, an entire business jet could be made from design to finish. NCAT is the centerpiece and headquarters of WSU Tech. WSU Tech/NCAT is leading a consortium of community colleges in developing industry-standard aviation manufacturing training curricula.
Kansas Manufacturing Solutions offers local manufacturers high quality, low-cost, state-of-the-art engineering assistance. Operating since 1991, KMS is a not-for-profit organization that helps manufacturers increase sales, productivity and quality, while reducing costs. KMS provides hands-on consulting services to small and medium-sized manufacturers to help them become more competitive. The focus is on day-to-day production and business issues. KMS helps manufacturers implement quality improvement programs, troubleshoot equipment and product problems, locate hard-to-find vendors, economically reduce pollutants and implement cost accounting systems. Other services include technical seminars, product testing, company assessments, industry networks and equipment/software demonstrations. About 80 experienced Field Engineers provide technical assistance. Together, they have capabilities in hundreds of manufacturing, engineering, operations, management and marketing areas.
Sedgwick County Foreign Trade Zone benefits import/export manufacturing, assembly and distribution operations. The FTZ is a general-purpose zone where foreign and domestic goods are not within U.S. Customs territory. Users are thereby exempt from paying duty or federal excise tax while goods remain in the zone or are exported. If final product is imported into the U.S., import tax or duty is due only at the time of transfer.
Wichita Technology Corporation fosters creation and growth of technology-based businesses. WTC seed capital fund provides early stage financing for new technologies with promising commercial potential.