The University of Texas at El Paso
Coalition Lead Applicant: The University of Texas at El Paso
Project Title: West Texas A&D Cluster
Region (applicant-defined): West Texas region (El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Brewster and Presidio counties)
Phase 2 Federal Award: Approximately $40 million
The West Texas Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing coalition, led by the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), will receive approximately $40 million to strengthen America's aerospace and defense manufacturing capabilities by integrating legacy manufacturers in West Texas into the aerospace and defense (A&D) supply chain. While UTEP is a national leader in aerospace training with highly diverse engineering talent, the region loses these skilled workers to more established clusters with greater job opportunities. EDA funding will establish the El Paso Makes Advanced Manufacturing District where small- and mid-size firms can co-locate with research and innovation assets while also benefiting from the physical and cybersecurity infrastructure required to participate in the A&D market. Additional funding will expand access to a suite of services for local manufacturers and workers to create reliable on-ramps into A&D supply chains, which have higher pay and less volatility than existing traditional manufacturing sectors. The West Texas Aerospace and Defense Manufacturing coalition has demonstrated the ability to train and educate a diverse STEM workforce in a region that includes a large rural population and is 82 percent Hispanic; this strategy will give those skilled workers the chance to build their careers and their businesses in West Texas.