Note: The following item was provided by Georgia Northwestern Technical College for publication. – KtE

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) helped approximately 60 students explore career path opportunities at a recent Aviation Career Day.

Four cohorts of Aviation Maintenance Technology classes participated in the event Friday, Nov. 18, at GNTC’s Aviation Training Center at the Richard B. Russell Regional Airport in Rome. Students—including students graduating in December as well as incoming students—in both the Aviation Maintenance Technology and Aviation Maintenance Technician programs participated in GNTC’s first Aviation Career Day.

“My goal is to be picked up in the corporate aviation world,” said Aviation Maintenance Technology student Jonathan Clegg. “This opportunity is making me realize just how tightly-knit the entire aviation industry is. I’m thankful GNTC put together this event.”

Representatives from Cox Enterprises, Crystal Air Inc., Delta TechOps, Epps Aviation, Home Depot Aviation, Pratt & Whitney, and Textron Aviation Inc. discussed various career opportunities in aviation maintenance, answered questions, accepted resumes and encouraged students to apply for jobs with their companies. Pratt & Whitney is a division of Raytheon Technologies Co.; Textron’s brands include Beechcraft, Bell Helicopter, Cessna, Hawker and McCauley Propeller Systems.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to meet with people in our industry and to learn what companies do,” said GNTC student Alex Green, who, like Clegg, is graduating with an associate degree in Aviation Maintenance in December. “A lot of companies do different things, so this event has opened my eyes to all the opportunities available.”

Phil Pezan, service manager in Textron’s Orlando location, has attended similar events at other colleges, but “this is the first place that the students had a resume in hand,” he said. “This tells me the students are ready to go to work.”

The aviation maintenance field offers job security, Pezan said. Some Textron employees have worked for the company for more than 30 to 50 years.

Pezan’s counterpart in Textron’s Tampa office, Robert Patrick, said the company has 11 service centers, along with manufacturing plants in Wichita and Texas. Textron has hundreds of open jobs throughout its network.

Patrick emphasized the importance of having hands-on, technical experience when entering the aviation workforce.

Brian Flippo, aircraft maintenance manager at Crystal Air Inc., said the company is looking for airframe and powerplant technicians.

“This is the first time we’ve recruited through GNTC,” said Flippo, adding that when he received his Aviation Maintenance Technology diploma from GNTC in 2014, GNTC had great instructors and a good track record of placing graduates in jobs.

“We met a lot of good candidates today,” he said.

Patrick Mills, manager of Quality Oversight and K-12 Outreach Subcommittee chair at Delta TechOps, encouraged students to be openminded about the shift and location in the country they would like to work to maximize their opportunities.

In addition to performing line and component maintenance on Delta’s fleet, Delta mechanics perform maintenance for other companies, he said. Delta disassembles planes the company no longer flies so that parts that are still serviceable can be sold.

Every airline has a pilot shortage, he said. Delta employees who are interested in becoming pilots can continue their education and move up within the company.

Other backgrounds of interest to prospective aviation employers are fabrication, machining and welding, said Janice Hudson-Huff, Aviation secretary and program assistant for GNTC.

Hudson-Huff was pleased that the event drew even greater employer participation than expected after word-of-mouth spread about the event.

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