HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — Alabama’s business recruitment team is working to grow aerospace, aviation and defense industries in the state. State leaders just returned from the Farnborough International Air Show in Europe and say they were able to identify more opportunities to bring jobs to Alabama.

Alabama’s Department of Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield says Alabama’s aerospace industry is soaring.

“We’ve got 8,000 jobs that have been created in sectors since 2016. We’ve got 300 companies in the aerospace sector in Alabama representing 30 nations,” says Secretary Greg Canfield.

Canfield says it was essential for the Alabama business recruitment team to attend the networking opportunity.

“Alabama really has to be present at these types of international air shows in order to make the types of connections and build relationships and more importantly the job creating opportunities that come with it,” says Canfield.

Canfield says they used the opportunity to expand those industries in the state.

“We had 13 appointments with opportunities to interact with more than 50 C suite executives while we were there. And we gained a better understanding of the future direction of the aerospace sector we came away with what we believe to be five to six future projects activities for the state,” says Canfield.

Canfield says those projects could include expansions, new investments and new entrants into the marketplace.

“We are coming out of the COVID years and we are also seeing impacts from Russian invasion into the Ukraine. A lot of disruptions into the traditional supply chain and these companies are thinking about that and they are trying to find new ways to create redundant suppliers so they don’t have the disruptions they’ve had,” says Canfield.

He says Alabama offers a multitude of reasons as to why its a great location for industry growth.

“We have the labor pool, we have the expertise, we have the support systems in terms of a state that has the right business environment to locate here and do business,” says Canfield.

And says the Alabama way of life sells itself.

“We have wonderful places for executives, their families and their employees to live work and play,” says Canfield.