The announcement by Spirit AeroSystems that it will add 1,000 jobs in two years is great news for the Wichita region.

Cowley County and its close neighbors are part of that region.

The future of the aircraft manufacturing industry in Kansas suddenly looks brighter.

Spirit plans to invest $1 billion in its Wichita facilities over the next five years.

This means Spirit will be operating in Wichita for the foreseeable future. 

Yes, this expansion of good-paying jobs at Spirit, which now has over 11,000 employees and is the largest employer in the state, will put wage pressure on local manufacturers and other businesses.

Qualified workers may be harder to find.

If there is a lesson in this announcement for us, it is to double down on our efforts to attract and keep such workers.

Above all, this means housing.

The county’s economic development agency, Cowley First, and the two larger cities, Winfield and Arkansas City, have funded a housing study.

It’s time to act with all the energy we can muster on the results of that study.

This means developing more low and middle-income housing, and managing well the limited housing in those price ranges that we have.

Wichita and its close neighbors will be trying to do the same.

Recent news of a planned 54 home development in north Arkansas City was most welcome.

We in Cowley County and this immediate area have a challenge to do our part in finding places to live for the growing number of industrial workers in our region. If we don’t meet this challenge, others will.

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