General Electric said it will hire 5,000 more veterans over the next five years to help expand its aviation division. The move came as officials in Palm Beach, Florida, announced the aviation and aerospace industry has become an economic driver for the region.

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that General Electric announced its commitment to hire more veterans during a four-day aviation global partnership event in Washington, D.C. The company said that its "Hiring Our Heroes" program will help match military members with jobs ranging from the production of jet engines to light bulbs.

The company said it will add more manufacturing jobs and open three plants in Mississippi, Alabama and Ohio next year as part of its overall plan to create or rebuild 16 facilities and add 12,000 new jobs.

Meanwhile in Florida, the Palm Beach Country Business Development Board said the area's 600 aerospace companies have generated $4.5 billion to the local economy.

"If you look at the United States as a whole and look at concentrations of aerospace engineers, Palm Beach Gardens is at the top of the list,"  David Albert, spokesman for turbine engine repair company Chromalloy, told CBS affiliate WPEC news. 

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