A new program that launched this week in Wichita, Kansas, will provide technical training for high-school students to prepare them to step directly into jobs in the aviation industry. Aviation Pathway is a joint effort involving Textron Aviation, Wichita Public Schools and WSU Tech, a technical college based in Wichita. Staff at Textron approached public-school officials to propose the project. “We immediately began to explore its potential benefit to our students, the aviation industry and our community,” said Alicia Thompson, schools superintendent. “We can’t wait to show students and their parents what they will learn and do in this new program, focused on today’s high-tech, fast-paced aviation industry.” Thousands of jobs in advanced aviation manufacturing are expected to be available in Kansas over the next five years, due to increased production and staff retirements.
Jim Walters, of Textron Aviation’s human resources department, said it was just months ago that he and colleagues visited a model program in another state, and Wichita officials helped to make the idea into reality very quickly. “With educators and business working together, this new program will match industry needs and students with knowledge and career opportunities,” he said. “They have accomplished in weeks and months what could require years.” Sheree Utash, president of WSU Tech, said the program will change students’ lives and help the aviation industry to grow. “Together we are developing the next generation of highly skilled employees,” Utash said. The program will be the first of its kind in Kansas.