S.C. is still Boeing strong

A rendering of the Boeing 787-10, which will be produced in North Charleston. (Provided)

Boeing is, to South Carolina, the gift that keeps giving.

The final-assembly plant for Dreamliners, which it opened in North Charleston in 2011, was the beginning.

In 2012 it added a factory to produce interiors here, and it has begun site work for a new paint facility where all 787s will be painted with customers' logos.

And last week, Boeing announced that it will assemble the newest and longest Dreamliner here beginning in 2017. All of them.

The North Charleston plant has shared work on the Dreamliner 787-8 with Boeing's facility in Everett, Wash. And work on the 787-9, to begin here in the fall, is also being done at both places.

We believe it a sign of the company's confidence in South Carolina that Boeing plans to produce the 787-10 here exclusively.

Indeed, Larry Loftis, vice president and general manager of the 787 program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, called the action "the most efficient and effective solution."

And we feel sure that South Carolina being a right-to-work state doesn't hurt.

While the company says it doesn't expect the new line to mean more jobs or a bigger facility, an aviation analyst predicted it would have to boost its workforce.

Either way, the announcement puts pressure on South Carolina to provide skilled workers. With each additional task being assigned to North Charleston's plant, the likelihood of suppliers moving to South Carolina increases.

This is one more reason for the state to give full support to its technical colleges. Trident Technical College has been educating people for work in the aeronautics field, and wants to expand its efforts by building a $79 million training center. So far, $38 million has been pledged by state and local governments and TTC.

It makes good business sense to provide public support for the program expansion. Boeing's successes continue to mount, with All Nippon Airways Thursday finalizing a $13 billion order for 40 Boeing wide body jets. And its successes in South Carolina have a ripple affect throughout the state - both in its economic impact and in the pride South Carolinians feel in being part of it.