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Local leaders in Germany, hoping to bring back jobs
More than 30 of the Florida Panhandle's most prominent government and business leaders are now in Hamburg, Germany, where Airbus has its headquarters.
The airplane manufacturer is building an assembly plant in Mobile that's expected to employ more than 1,000 people when it opens in 2018. But that's just a start. Thousands of other jobs could also be created locally, if the delegation in Germany is successful.
You won't find Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward at City Hall over the next few days. He's part of the delegation of local leaders that's now in Germany, hoping to bring some good jobs back to Northwest Florida.
Building commercial airliners requires a lot of workers and a lot of parts, many of which Airbus gets from European suppliers.
If local leaders can attract those parts suppliers to our area to help Airbus's operation in Mobile, thousands of good paying jobs could be created.
"That'd be a pretty good idea, especially if you get in on the ground floor and there's room for advancement," said Dylan Lewis, who's worked as a waiter in the local restaurant industry for more than a decade.
Lewis would love to pursue higher paying work, but he says it's tough to find.
"No matter where you go," Lewis said, "It seems like minimum wage, you're gonna get minimum wage."
Hayley Jimison, a mother who's looking for work, said the same.
"Trying to support a child on minimum wage doesn't really do anything for you or your child," Jimison said.
Recent studies show most job openings in Florida are for positions with low pay, with job creation being led by gains in the hospitality industry.
Local leaders participating in an aerospace forum overseas are hoping to change that trend, at least in our area. The forum in Germany will include a series of meetings on Monday and wrap up with a tour of Airbus's factory on Tuesday.