With $5.3 billion in revenues in 2010, a workforce of over 17,000 and an order book of $16 billion, Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer is one the great success stories of the country’s high-technology manufacturing sector.

As a relative newcomer to the highly competitive global aerospace industry, education levels are particularly important to Embraer. With high school education as a minimum level for entry to the company, a total of 35% of the workforce has been educated to graduate and post-graduate levels. The company employs over 350 staff with PhDs.

As the company grows, it is developing links with communities throughout Brazil, increasing the chances for talented youngsters from all backgrounds to develop their skills within the company. The Embraer Education and Research Institute was created in 2001 to help contribute to social inclusion through education projects in the communities where the company has facilities. It has established the Juarez Wanderley High School in São José dos Campos. It provides full-time, free, high-quality instruction to 600 less-privileged students per year coming from the local public schools. Over 1,600 students have graduated since it was established in 2002, all of whom have been admitted to university. According to the Ministry of Education, it is the 4th best high school in the State of São Paulo, and the 30th in the nation. The Institute has also worked with Brazilian NGOs to establish 60 education projects in the three Brazilian regions where Embraer has manufacturing plants.

The company’s direct and indirect employment footprint, however, is not limited to its home market. Companies from the USA provide over 70% of the components for the Legacy 600, Phenom 100 and Phenom 300 business jets. Over 7,000 existing USA jobs are supported – and some of them preserved – by Embraer’s component purchases, according to the company and its USA partners. Embraer has had a presence in the USA since 1979 and directly employs almost 1,000 people there.

Elsewhere, Embraer is in the process of growing its business in Portugal. It now owns a 65% share of the Portugal’s largest aircraft maintenance and aircraft manufacturing company OGMA.