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With giants like Lockheed Martin and Boeing calling our state home, it's easy to see South Carolina's aerospace industry is a top contender.

"Orangeburg and South Carolina in particular is a well kept secret," Calvin Davis said.

Davis works for Triumph Fabrications based in Orangeburg where they crank out textiles and metal parts for military helicopters.

"A lot of products that we provide that are unseen, but also important," Davis said.

Triumph is one of 466 aerospace companies across the state, helping South Carolina rake in more than $17 billion.

"We've seen huge rates of growth over the last decade, but especially since 2007 when Boeing came into South Carolina," Dr. Joseph Von Nessen said.

Von Nessen works as a research economist at USC and lead the study about aerospace in South Carolina.

And other than planes and manufacturing, the aersopace cluster has plenty of opportunity for those without a technical background.

"We also have a strong knowledge economy that's supported by the aerospace cluster, that is jobs that require innovation and the commercialization of new ideas. These create huge knowledge spillover effects which help other industries as well," Von Nessen said.

Across the state Charleston and the Low Country come in No. 1 and 2 as the places with the highest concentration of aerospace industry.

The Midlands ranks No. 3 boasting Shaw Air Force Base and McEntire Joint National Guard Base.

"With such a heavy military presence here we definitely have to be able to support them locally and that way we can provide the services and products needed to make sure our military is operating optimally," Davis said.

The study reports that the aerospace cluster causes a ripple effect, helping grow other industries like housing, retail and tourism.

"The next step, which is part of the reason we're here at Aerospace Industry Day today, is to discover strategies and create strategies for how to sustain that rate of growth going forward which starts with workforce development and matching up people in South Carolina with the positions being created," Von Nessen said.

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