Keesler's total economic impact for Fiscal Year 2006 has been calculated at almost $1.3 billion. The figure was finalized today as base officials completed the annual process of data assimilation and validation.
"We're proud that Keesler continues to have a significant positive impact on the Mississippi Gulf Coast's economy," said Brig. Gen. Paul F. Capasso, commander, 81st Training Wing. "The partnership between the base and the local community is something we look forward to well into the future."
In addition to employee payroll figures and construction and purchases ($640 million), the total economic impact includes military retiree pay and the value of volunteer services as well as jobs indirectly created on the Gulf Coast.
Over the last year, because of the impact of Hurricane Katrina, Keesler has experienced a dip both in the number of people it employs and student population. This is reflected in employee payroll, construction and purchases.
Keesler currently employs 11,200 people, including nearly 7,600 military positions. In addition, the base's presence created more than 3,500 local and contract jobs.
As one of the Air Force's major training centers, on any given day more than 3,500 students train at Keesler in more than 460 courses in technical subjects such as communication-electronics, medical, personnel, airfield management, weather forecasting and air traffic control.
"Keesler's job is to deliver the nation's best trained, highly motivated, expeditionary Airmen" said General Capasso.
"Last year we graduated over 27,000 Airmen, International and Sister Service personnel to meet our nation's call to duty. This is a phenomenal feat considering we are in the midst of a four year Hurricane Katrina rebuilding process and our Airmen continue to deploy to ensure the sanctity of our freedoms in support our nation's and Air Force's priority to win the war on terror."
In addition, 57,600 hours were volunteered by Keesler members in fiscal year 2006 to coast community projects and organizations, in humanitarian operations as a direct result of Hurricane Katrina. Each year, Keesler also hosts the Mississippi State Special Olympics Summer Games, accommodating more than 800 athletes and coaches from across the state. Thousands of Keesler volunteers serve the games in every capacity from team partners to timekeepers.
"We understand the importance of building strong community relationships in achieving our mission." said General Capasso. "The future is bright for the Mississippi Gulf Coast and the men and women of Keesler Air Force Base are proud to be part of the team."
For the full economic impact statement: http://www.keesler.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-070205-008.pdf