The local high schools receive the benefit of a full-day program for their upper division students including lunch at famous Flo’s Restaurant. The kids get the day away from campus, education about the career vocations offered by an airport, plus a super cool two-week internship possibility.
- Commercial pilot/co-pilot
- Director of Maintenance
- Exterior Paint and Body work
- Interior Design, Fabric, woodworking, metal working, installation
Air Traffic Control
Computer & Information Technology
Police and Fire Fighting
Ground [Field] Operations
- Support Vehicles
- Field Markings
- Baggage Handling
- Food Service
- Customer Service
During the morning session the students spend time with AeroTrader which has 50 employees in aircraft restoration, repairs, engine re-building, fabrication and machine shop. They also tour Threshold an FBO that has 60 employees working in charter operations, aircraft maintenance and aircraft management. Both of these businesses need a mix of vocational and skilled employees.
After lunch at Flo’s the groups go to SCE, a public utilities company with 40 employees. Then on to Mach One Air Charters [8 employees] , DuBois Aviation [20 employees] and ending with the Planes of Fame Air Museum, a non-profit with 35 employees. Along the way the kids see the tower and ATC system, learn about Young Eagles, and other businesses on field including avionics repair.
At the end of the day, if a student identifies a strong interest in working for one of the employers highlighted in a session they are given the opportunity to participate in a two-week internship. All of the businesses at Chino, or any airport for that matter, need workers trained through vocational programs or skilled technical programs. Most high schools now offer various tracks to their students to meet those needs.
I think that Bob Velker has struck gold with this idea. Not only does it get people to the airport other than pilots, it helps to highlight that our airports offer tremendous economic value and are an economic engine for our communities. The students might be able to “see” themselves in an aviation career other than that of a pilot. Opportunities like this day-long event open young minds to the career possibilities in aviation. As a parent of a teenager myself, I welcome an opportunity for a child to be able to get their head out of the phone, video game, or chip bag, and into the possibilities of a career in aviation.
The opinions expressed by the bloggers do not reflect AOPA’s position on any topic.