Spirit, WSU Announce Workforce Training Partnership

Apr 5, 2018

Spirit AeroSystems will have a presence on Wichita State University’s Innovation Campus as part of a collaboration announced Thursday between the school and the state’s largest employer.

Under the new agreement, Spirit will lease space in a building—for now, known as Partnership Building 2—where students will work alongside engineers from the aviation company.

"Now, that applied learning," said WSU vice president for research and technology transfer John Tomblin, "that means we want to do things differently in how we train a workforce and educate a workforce of the future."

John Bardo, left, listens as Tom Gentile speaks during Thursday's announcement of a partnership between WSU and Spirit AeroSystems.
Credit Nadya Faulx / KMUW

For Spirit, it’s a kind of pipeline for new employees. For students at Wichita State and WSU Tech, it’s a chance to get hands-on experience in aviation research and development, prototyping, virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

“These are the things that we will be able to incubate here and then take to our factory floor across town on Oliver Street, and then put into production," said Spirit CEO Tom Gentile.

The 8,000-square-foot building on the Innovation Campus will support about 30 Spirit employees and 200 students. It’s expected to open mid-summer.

This story was corrected to reflect that Spirit will lease space in the building, not the entire building.

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