Senate Democrats Ground Bills Securing Future Of California’s Aerospace Industry

Measures Would Encourage Students to Pursue an Aerospace Career

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)- – This week, Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley) presented two bills that provided tax credits designed to secure the future of the aerospace industry in California.

Every year, many California companies, including aerospace, struggle to find enough qualified individuals to fill high skill/high wage positions. In 2009, only 10% of California college degrees and certificates were issued in science, technology, engineering, and math fields (commonly referred to as STEM). And yet, for every STEM qualified candidate, there is an average of 1.4 unfilled positions. This is in contrast to 4.9 unemployed persons for every 1 non-STEM job.  California must compete to build and maintain a quality workforce.

“California’s education system is not keeping up with the demand for STEM jobs. While unemployment rates soar in California, these businesses are forced to look outside of our state’s borders to fill vacant positions,” said Senator Knight.

SB 413 addressed this concern by encouraging more STEM course instruction to California children. This bill allocates up to $1,500 in a personal income tax credit to teachers of these courses in kindergarten through 12th grade. Creating excitement about these subjects with young students is the key to ensuring a strong workforce for highly skilled jobs in the future.

Senator Knight also presented SB 414, which provides California aerospace companies with a tax credit of 10 percent of a new employee’s compensation during their first five years of employment, so long as they are a recent graduate of a California institution. This measure also gives a tax credit of up to 50 percent of the total reimbursed tuition cost during the first four years of the new employee’s hire to a qualified aerospace company.

“Students emerging from four year institutions are eager to begin their careers in a meaningful, exciting industry,” continued Senator Knight. “SB 413 and SB 414 provide an avenue in which the aerospace industry would not only have a vast pool of qualified candidates to choose from in the future, but also ensure that they will have the resources to hire them.”

Since the beginning of the recession, both businesses and students emerging from four-year institutions have faced many challenges in the current market. By creating a series of tax incentives for the aerospace industry as well as encouraging a future of highly trained workers, SB 413 and 414 addressed the heart of the current struggling market.

The Senate majority party voted against SB 413 and SB 414 in the Governance and Finance Committee this week. However, these bills have been granted reconsideration and will have another opportunity next year.

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