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Area near Hill Air Force Base brings defense tech jobs to northern Utah

A F-35A Lightning II takes off at Hill Air Force Base during the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings' combat power exercise where they launched 35 F-35A Lightning IIs within a condensed period of time in Ogden on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. Photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

LAYTON, Utah – Northrup Grumman is bringing at least 2,250 defense tech jobs to the area near Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah. 

As of now, only about 40% of those jobs will go to Utahns. The state is looking to increase that number as it projects the area could grow faster than Silicon Slopes in the coming years. 

Defense jobs move near Hill Air Force Base

Northrup Grumman was recently awarded the contract for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, which will replace the intercontinental ballistic missile system. 

It’s expected the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent project will have a downwind effect as other defense contractors bring their tech jobs to northern Utah.

Utah’s also a strong candidate for the future permanent headquarters of Space Command. 

Ben Hart, the Deputy Director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, told state lawmakers during a hearing on Tuesday they have been attracting companies to the Hill Air Force Base area with tax incentives. 

But he believes Utahns need to be trained for these new jobs, and young people need to know they exist. 

“If we don’t make that connection, then I think we’ve really failed. And I think where we can keep our students here instead of losing them out of state, or bringing a new workforce to the area, is just going to be really, really important,” Hart said. 

Even though the area could grow faster than Silicon Slopes, Hart is worried infrastructure will not keep up with demand. 

“It’s important that we stay coordinated now on things like public transportation and making sure we have good infrastructure to support the base,” Hart said. 

The state is also looking to attract venture capital firms to the area and wants to plan for supply chain logistics.

Housing will likely also become an issue, but one Hart feels is solvable. 

“We’re going to see a tremendous impact, not only on housing but things like office space…Education, I’m hopeful, in a positive way,” Hart said. “The more sustainable, the more coordinated we are working with communities, the better off our growth is going to be.”