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Aerospace Sector Soars in Broken Arrow, OK

High-tech jobs in Broken Arrow are powered by great affordability, business-friendly environment, skilled workforce, standout quality of life and excellent education.

By Bill Lewis on April 14, 2023

FlightSafety International classroom in Broken Arrow, OK
FlightSafety International

When U.S. Department of Defense contractor CymSTAR was looking for the perfect location to invest millions of dollars and create engineering jobs paying $100,000 or more, Broken Arrow checked all the boxes.

Broken Arrow’s affordability, business-friendly environment, skilled workforce and standout quality of life make the city a destination for aerospace and high-tech manufacturing firms.

The city has a deep pool of talent thanks to the presence of FlightSafety International, L3 Harris and global materials testing and certification provider Element.

Voyage to the Future

Broken Arrow is committed to keeping the STEM talent pipeline full with educational tools like the Voyage Solar System Walkway.

Intended to spark curiosity in aerospace at an early age, Voyage is one of only seven scale models of Earth’s solar system in the U.S. It is on permanent display starting at Creekwood Elementary and traveling to Broken Arrow High School.

“Broken Arrow, the fourth-largest city in Oklahoma, is a desirable location for our aerospace partners like FlightSafety, CymSTAR, Element, and L3 Harris due to a strong pipeline of highly skilled talent. Broken Arrow is fast becoming a hub for high-tech engineering,” says Jennifer Conway, president and CEO of the Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and Broken Arrow Economic Development Corp.

“Broken Arrow has strong collaborations with manufacturers and education partners to further build the pipeline of a strong, skilled workforce for the future,” Conway says.

Voyage exhibit kickoff in Broken Arrow, OK
Laurie Biby

Inspiring STEM Students

Funded by private donations, Voyage is a 1:10 billion scale model of the solar system beginning at the sun and ending 2,000 feet away at Pluto. Work on the project began when a small group of local educators met the concept’s creator, Dr. Jeff Goldstein, an astrophysicist at the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Pat Smith, one of the educators who spearheaded Voyage, hopes the exhibit will inspire students to imagine themselves in STEM careers.

“Many students assume they are not capable of succeeding at the higher levels of math and science and are limited by this misconception,” Smith says. “We want Voyage to spark an interest – even a passion – in students to really look at STEM education as a doable pathway to an amazing life for them.”

Girls used to be told that the only careers open to them were as nurses, secretaries and teachers, Smith says.

“All people need to see themselves in the role of engineer, scientist, inventor or astronaut,” Smith says. “At an early age, we must teach our children that they can succeed in almost any career if they dedicate their lives to the education and energy which that field requires.”

Creating Future Careers in Broken Arrow

Some students might find themselves employed by a local company such as CymSTAR. In the summer of 2022, the company opened its new headquarters.

The 42,000-square-foot facility houses a C-5 full-motion flight simulator used to test upgrades and modifications before implementation on the U.S. Air Force’s current fleet of aircraft. The new facility can accommodate up to five full-flight simulators with its 60-foot-high ceiling, providing CymSTAR with space for future expansion.

Did You Know?

Broken Arrow’s aerospace companies currently employ nearly 1,000 people. The industry’s growth is a focus of the Chamber-EDC and city leaders.

“We are excited about the prospect of investing in our most valuable assets, our employees, and supporting the local economy by offering highly skilled job opportunities right here at home,” says Dan Marticello, CymSTAR’s CEO and president.

“This new state-of-the-art facility will allow us to grow our engineering and manufacturing capabilities and help attract highly talented individuals to support the mission readiness of our defense forces with leading-edge training innovations,” he says.

Students inspired by Voyage will be part of the industry’s growth.

“Think about it, how exciting to prepare for a future that will consist of solving problems, inventing new ways of building or new fuels or new materials to make outer space flight possible,” Smith says. “The discoveries these students make will greatly impact the world we live in, as well.”

Tulsa Technology Center
Tulsa Tech

Preparing for High-Tech Jobs in Broken Arrow

Meeting industry workforce needs for today and the near future is what the Broken Arrow Center for Workforce Excellence is all about.

The center, led by the Broken Arrow Economic Development Corp., works with businesses, colleges and STEM programs in the two local public school systems to make sure students are receiving training to prepare them for careers in sectors such as energy, advanced manufacturing and health care.

Broken Arrow already has several career training programs, such as Project Pathways, taught at Broken Arrow Public Schools, and Career Connects at Union Public Schools.

Northeastern State University in Broken Arrow offers a bachelor’s of business administration and a bachelor’s of technology degree in supply chain management.

Also, Tulsa Technology Center in South Broken Arrow is home to the Manufacturing Center for Applied Research, with programs in areas such as CNC machining, blueprint reading and gap analysis.

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