Charleston people excited about Boeing jobs

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on November 19, 2009 at 8:07 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 19 at 9:57 PM

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Friday Boeing will break ground on the second 787 assembly line in South Carolina. But the talk in South Carolina is about the thousands of jobs this new plant is expected to create.

One only has to look at the Spanish moss to know Charleston is in the Deep South and a long way from Western Washington.

Charleston's airport is many things including home to the Charleston Air Force Base where they fly Boeing-built C-17's.

Airman First Class Benjamin Oehlke is a mechanic. His dad once worked for Boeing and he could see working at Boeing himself.

"A few years down the road, depending on the benefits when I get out, I would consider it a good possibility," he said.

Across the airport you can see one of Boeing's big-parts-carrying Dreamlifters. The massive plane will serve as a backdrop Friday for Boeing's ground-breaking of its new 787 factory.

All around Charleston, the buzz is all about Boeing and much of that buzz is about jobs.

"How much buzz is there about this? Everybody knows!" said Kenneth, who could see himself working at the new Boeing plant driving trucks in a few years.

In fact, it was just about a mile away at Fort Sumpter in Charleston Harbor where the first shots of the Civil War were fired in 1861. South Carolina's been shaking things up for a long time.

Jack and Denise Green are retired and live in the upper part of the state where BMW built a big car factory. They can see similar benefits from Boeing.

"It's the beginning of something that could really blossom. That's what everybody's hoping for," said Jack Green, retired pharmacist.

"This is a good idea, and everyone I talk to has been happy about it," said Denise Green, retired nurse.

It's not known just how many jobs Boeing will generate, but the company expects to easily exceed the 3,800 jobs it's required to create to meet the obligations of the incentive package it got from the state.

How successful this plant will be will depend on how much training South Carolina workers can get.

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