Italian Renaissance inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci was one of the world's first aviation enthusiasts, saying at one point, "For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward." Alluding to the fascination that exists regarding aeronautics, that statement certainly rings true for the state of South Carolina, which over the last decade, has developed a burgeoning aerospace industry.
This week, to discuss the future of this high-flying sector, hundreds of global aerospace leaders descended on Columbia, S.C. for the 2018 S.C. Aerospace Conference and Expo. Throughout the two-day event, one common theme continued to surface -- further growth of this industry in South Carolina will depend on our ability to expand the state's aerospace talent pipeline.
Recognizing this, Team South Carolina opened this year's conference to more than 900 middle and high school students in the hopes that, like da Vinci, they too will be captivated by flight. Throughout the event, these future members of our workforce were introduced to the various career opportunities that exist within South Carolina's growing aerospace sector. From meeting with company representatives to participating in demonstrations, these students received a glimpse into what makes advanced manufacturing such a cool career field.
Moving forward, as we seek to propel South Carolina's dynamic aerospace industry to new heights, continued efforts to connect with the state's youth will be critical. After all, some day it will be their turn to lead, and they'll be the ones designing, building and flying the aircraft of the future.