WICHITA, Kan. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R) Kansas visited Wichita State University Friday morning to tour an extensive expansion meant to see the university apart when it comes to preparing students for the workforce and being on the cutting edge of technology and innovation.
WSU took the national stage Friday as Moran visited its innovation campus with U.S. Air Force Under Secretary Matthew Donovan and Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Dr. Will Roper.
Moran, Donovan and Roper focused on technology that would help sustain aging U.S. aircraft.
Air Force experts say Wichita State not only has the right technology, but it also has the right plans in place to allow airmen to fix issues in the field without experts.
Those plans are paired with a talented up-and-coming workforce, the senator says.
"Wichita offers the expertise, capacity and desire to be an epicenter of talent, innovation and efficiency for the Air Force, and I am committed to making certain the Pentagon remains acutely aware of the ways the Wichita area can serve the Department of Defense," Moran says. "I will continue to work to bring defense leaders to Wichita to see the abundant opportunities for growth and the value of increased partnerships with academic and industry leaders here.”
Roper says there are two goals with the type of engineering happening at the Wichita State Innovation Campus: lower costs and increase readiness.
Moran says he wants Kansas to be at the forefront of those goals and to keep the Air Capital in Wichita. With Kansas' economy, Moran emphasized the importance of capitalizing on the state's strengths with STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education careers in aviation, aerospace, agriculture and energy.
"We have great universities including Wichita State that provide that education," Moran says. "Our schools K-12 are improving their efforts at STEM education, at career-building education. We have the building blocks of that have led us to be a place in which science, mathematics, engineering and research is well taught and we have lots of students who are interested in pursuing that kind of career."
Moran says he wants more students who develop STEM-based skills in Kansas to stay in the state to launch their careers. He said while Wichita is the "Air Capital of the World," there are other communities in the U.S. competing for that title.
"We need to do everything we can in our state here in Wichita and around the state to make certain that we remain the Air Capital of the World because we have the talent and education," he says.