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Aerospace in Upstate SC

Aviation and aerospace companies are soaring to success in Upstate South Carolina, which is the global home of the Lockheed Martin F-16. The industry is taking advantage of the region’s strengths in materials research and manufacturing, engineering and workforce training.

The Aerospace cluster in South Carolina employs more than 136,000 people. There are more than 400 aviation and aerospace-related companies in South Carolina, and 40% of them are located in the Upstate. Some of these companies include:

Workforce & Training

Logo for readySC, a division of the SC Technical College SystemSouth Carolina has a strong workforce development system. Highlighted by the SC Technical College System and readySC™ program, it is capable of rapidly preparing and retraining workers for new manufacturing systems, such as those potentially required by aerospace manufacturing operations.  For almost 50 years, readySC™, has been recognized as one of the nation’s premier and most-experienced workforce training programs. Operated through the SC Technical College System, it provides customized workforce training at little or no cost to companies located in the area.

Learn more about workforce programs that serve the Upstate’s growing industries.

Specialty Training

Upstate South Carolina is home to four technical colleges focused on serving the needs of local business and industry. The technical college system works hand-in-hand with its affiliate programs: readySC™Apprenticeship Carolina™  and QuickJobs Carolina™, so companies located in the area can take full advantage of the extensive education and training network.

The technical college system in the Upstate offers multiple aerospace related degrees and certificates, including:

  • Associate’s in Aircraft Maintenance Technology
  • Certificate in Aviation Powerplant Theory/Systems
  • Certificate in Aviation Airframe Structure & Systems
  • Certificate in Aviation Fundamentals

Specialty training is also available through the following:

Why Upstate South Carolina?

Industry Support and Aviation Assets

The Upstate is a worldwide leader in the research and manufacturing of advanced materials. The Upstate has one of the highest number of engineers per capita.  Home to highly trained graduates, world-renowned professors and a dynamic workforce, we have the capabilities to research, develop and perfect cutting-edge technologies in some of our state-of-the-art research facilities. These include: the Composites Manufacturing Technology Center, the Center for Advanced Engineering Fibers & Films, and The McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research.


The University of South Carolina McNAIR Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research‘s mission is to support the aerospace industry through education, research and economic engagement, with $30 million in annual research grants and 100 graduates each year. The McNair Center’s primary research areas include: Advanced Composites, Advanced Air Mobility, Combustion and Automation.


South Carolina Technology and Aviation Center logoSCTAC is a unique, leading-edge business and technology airpark located in Upstate South Carolina serving the business needs of South Carolina’s aerospace, automotive and advanced manufacturing industries. Encompassing 2,600 acres, SCTAC is recognized as the Global Home of the Lockheed Martin F-16, the world’s only manufacturing and sustainment center for the most advanced F-16 fighter jet ever built. At the heart of SCTAC lies the state’s largest general aviation airport, Donaldson Field. Its 8,000-ft long runway can handle virtually any aircraft and has a Category 1 Instrument Landing System. This unique business park asset makes SCTAC well-suited for aviation MRO and other aviation-related business needs.


South Carolina’s aerospace industry continues to drive economic growth with an economic impact of more than $28.8 billion. Learn more about the industry from SC Aerospace, a collaborative effort to support SC’s aerospace industry cluster on a global stage.