Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Bell Helicopter

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Saturday, March 05, 2005  •  Speech

Thank you.  I am honored to be joined today by Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Diane Rath...
...Dr. Stephen Jones, President of Amarillo College...
...John Bean, a senior vice president with Bell Helicopter...
...and the hard working men and women whose labor is growing our economy, and providing our Armed Forces with the very best equipment and technology available.

Also with us today is a strong voice for the Panhandle in the Texas legislature, Representative David Swinford....
...and two men with the same great name:...
...my old friend Roger Williams, Texas Secretary of State...
...and my new friend, Roger Williams, Bell Helicopter’s Amarillo site leader.

It’s good to be back in the Texas Panhandle, and good to be here with so many leaders who are working to create prosperity and opportunity through job creation and a skilled workforce.

Amarillo received some great news earlier this year when Bell Helicopter announced that it had secured the contract to build Marine One, the new Presidential helicopter. 

That announcement not only brought a tremendous amount of pride to the community...
...it also brought 150 new jobs to Amarillo and 150 to Fort Worth.

And more good news could be on the way for Amarillo if Bell gets the contract for the Army’s Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter.

With the company’s strong rate of growth...
...total employment at the Amarillo plant could exceed 1,700 individuals six years from now...
...according to the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation.

That represents a huge increase in Bell’s local workforce...
...and significantly raises the demand for skilled workers.

Today Texas is taking an important step to help Bell meet that demand, and help train local workers.

I am proud to announce that Texas is committing nearly $700,000 to train 625 new and current employees of Bell Helicopter. 

And as a result, Bell will create 250 new jobs right here in Amarillo, in addition to the 150 already announced for the Marine One project.

I want to thank the Texas Workforce Commission for making these funds available...
...Amarillo College for providing the custom training program...
...and the leadership of Bell Helicopter Textron...
...for their partnership in this important effort.

The benefit to the Amarillo area will be tremendous. 

These funds will be used to equip workers with the skills needed for jobs as flight mechanics, flight electricians and electrical and mechanical assemblers...
...jobs that on average will pay over $16 an hour when training is completed.

Today’s announcement is another piece of evidence that proves Texas is growing its way to prosperity because we have created an environment in which employers are free to grow and create jobs.

Since September of 2003, Texas employers have added 162,000 new jobs. 

Last year we landed the largest job expansion nationwide for the last 4 years...
...as well as 9 of the 24 largest capital investments in the nation in 2003. 

And earlier this week, a leading economic development publication...
...Site Selection Magazine...
...declared Texas the number one state in America for job creation announcements for 2004.

We have made job creation a priority because jobs are the foundation of a bright future for all our people. 

Jobs are the bricks that pave the path to prosperity. 

And they generate something far greater than paychecks for workers or revenue for government priorities...
...and that is hope for Texas families.

And just as important as our efforts to attract jobs are our investments in workforce training...
...because economic development and workforce development go hand in hand. 

Without a skilled workforce, we will never be able to attract the jobs of tomorrow.

I am committed to workforce training because it is an important part of economic revival. 
That’s why I have made doubling funding for the skills development fund one of my legislative priorities. 

With an additional $25 million for job training across Texas...
...we can give more workers the skills they need to access the opportunities of the future.

An increased investment in a skilled workforce will help Texas keep the economic momentum we have built in recent years and expand opportunity for all our people.

Texas is grateful for Bell Helicopter’s commitment to provide jobs for Texas families...
...and we look forward to growing our partnership in the years to come.

Thank you.

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