Largest Employer is Getting Bigger

With the stroke of a pen, the Choctaw Tribe is now partnering with not only the worlds' second largest manufacturer for helicopters, but also with one of the nation's most advanced companies for providing test equipment to the military.

Thursday Chief Phillip Martin announced that the tribe will work with, West Virginia Based Agusta Westland USA in a Mentor-Protege relationship.

"We build the helicopter and what we are doing is entering a relationship with the Band of Choctaw Indians to actually bring them into the aerospace business and they will be building the wiring harnesses for our aircraft the US-101," said Steven Moss, President of Agusta Westlad USA Inc.

The plan is expected to bring 500 additional jobs to the area.

As part of the day, tribal officials also signed a letter of intent with Maryland based, AAI Corporation. The tribal officials also signed a letter of intent with Maryland based, AAI Corporation. The tribe is now working with the company in trying to land a contract worth between $20 and $30 million.

"Certainly we are starting small with an initial contract that we are after with them in an alliance to work on some army equipment and if that goes very well then we'll go after other contracts as well," Fred Strader, CEO of AAI Corporation.

In all the partnerships are projected to provide at least 100 new jobs on the reservation within the next year and perhaps more even in the other parts of the state in the future.

"I think its going to do good for the state. you know, all of these people that are working here, most of them will be paying taxes not only in the city but state taxes as well. So I think everybody will benefit here and there," said Chief Phillip Martin, Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

To fill the positions tribal officials say they will need engineers, and people with other computer and technology skills. Although people are welcomed to check into the positions now, we are told that it will likely be the first of the year before the build of the work and hiring begins.