Grand Junction is the largest metropolitan area in western Colorado, and is home to the state’s fastest-growing four-year college, Colorado Mesa University (CMU), with a current enrollment of 11,000 students. Civil, mechanical and electrical engineering curricula are offered as a partnership with the University of Colorado’s (CU) engineering program. Students can attend four years at CMU and graduate with a well-renowned CU degree. The engineers coming out of the program are top-notch because CMU has small class sizes (no stadium seating!) and are all taught by professors, not teaching assistants. As an aside, computer science and cybersecurity are also successful programs at CMU.
With a history in energy production as well as outdoor industry manufacturing, Grand Junction already has a robust manufacturing workforce with high-quality machinists and welders to support a growing and diversifying economy. Home to CoorsTek, Capco, Leitner-Poma of America, Jabil Lewis Engineering, DT Swiss and West Star Aviation, we have the manufacturing workforce that aerospace so desperately needs, including both engineers and line manufacturers.
Grand Junction is also home to Lockheed Martin Space Systems contractor Wren Industries, one of only nine contractors for the NASA Orion project. Owner Mike Sneddon credits the low cost of doing business in Grand Junction and the easy access to workforce as two of the reasons his company continues to grow. As the only aerospace company currently in Grand Junction, Mike has his pick of interns and engineers coming out of the CMU/CU engineering program and is able to quickly respond to increasing workforce needs.
Grand Junction is large enough to have the infrastructure and amenities that the aerospace industry need, but small and nimble enough to be able to cater specifically to that industry. Collaboration between School District 51 schools, Western Colorado Community College and CMU result in customized training programs that create talent pipelines specific to the industries, businesses and jobs that exist in western Colorado. Lucrative incentives, such as the Rural Jump Start Tax Credit program, which allow companies that relocate to the Grand Junction area to operate tax-free for up to eight years, allow small aerospace companies to grow quickly.
With a population of 150,000 and a regional airport with 16 daily, direct flights to six destinations, Grand Junction has the amenities and infrastructure that companies need to operate on a global level. Meanwhile, an average home price of $240,000, little-to-no traffic, year-round temperate weather and immediate access to the outdoors, ensures the area provides both a low cost of living and a high quality of life that results in happy, productive employees who stay in their jobs longer, reducing turnover costs for businesses.
Relocating or expanding your aerospace company to Grand Junction will result in direct access to the workforce you need, customized training programs that create a talent pipeline for your company, and finally, the workforce stabilization needed to focus on growing the company instead of retraining your workforce.
Are you ready to move your business to where life is grand? Contact GJEP today.
Photo Credit: Kenneth Redding for Colorado Mesa University, the fastest-growing university in Colorado, which offers engineering programs in partnership with the renowned University of Colorado.