Photo | Lagniappe
Airbus’ Daryl Taylor and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey pose for photos with 25 local students chosen for the company’s FlightPath9 program.
Airbus and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced two new hiring initiatives aimed at bringing more locals into the aerospace field, as the company looks to further bolster its employment numbers.
The first program, called FlightPath9, is aimed at incoming high school seniors, who are interested in the aerospace industry and good at working with their hands.
“The ideal candidate for FlightPath9 is that student with an aptitude for working with his or her hands and an interest in working in the aviation industry right out of high school,” said Daryl Taylor, Mobile A320 manufacturing facility vice president and general manager, at an event Wednesday, May 8 at the Riverview Plaza downtown. “They must be willing and able to participate in a nine-month program, be drug free, can read, write, do math, be 18 years or older by June 2020 and can adhere to soft work skills ….”
Through the program, Ivey said Airbus was putting students “on a path to a career.”
“It will help launch a career in the aerospace industry,” she said. “I hope you can agree that it is a spectacular day.”
The inaugural program features 25 students from 10 Mobile County schools and one Baldwin County school. The two schools with the most students in the program were McGill-Toolen Catholic High School with six, and B.C. Rain High School with five. The only Baldwin County school to have a student participate is St. Michael Catholic High School in Fairhope.
The large number of B.C. Rain students can be partly attributed to the school’s aerospace academy program, Airbus’s Michelle Hurdle said, following the event.
“A lot of them are involved in aviation already,” she said.
One of those students is Ty’Nora Edwards. The incoming B.C. Rain senior called the chance a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
“I like to meet new people and travel,” she said. “It’ll be good to graduate and have an opportunity for a job.”
Edwards declined an invitation from Stanford University to participate in a law course this summer and instead plans to take a Naval aviation course. However, she does still expect to have law school in her future, as she would like to be an attorney for the Navy.
Ben Vereen, an incoming senior at McGill-Toolen, said he’s most looking forward to the classes on Tuesday and Thursday nights during the school year.
“I usually work after school,” he said. “It won’t be a problem at all.”
As for the job prospects, Vereen said he’s excited to train with Airbus.
“It’s a good opportunity to get with Airbus,” he said. “It’s a good opportunity to get in and get involved.”
Airbus first promoted the event to school counselors, who passed on the information to interested students, Hurdle said. The company then held an information meeting with students and parents before the students applied for positions. Hurdle said the students were drug tested and then giving a round-robin interview to determine the best fits for the program.
Hurdle said the company would assess its employment needs and determine how many students would be able to participate in future years. She said they focused mainly on Mobile County public and Catholic schools for the first year. The program could expand in following years.
Airbus is partnering with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to give students more than 200 hours of instruction during their senior years.
William J. Muldoon, vice chancellor for campus operations, said the classes will feature faculty members based in Mobile, as the Daytona Beach, Florida-based school already has two campuses in the city. The course will offer as many as 13 different certifications. The classes will run from 3:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. two days per week. Dinner will be included.
Students who graduate from FlightPath9 can become full-time Airbus employees and become enrolled in the company’s Fast Track program. The Fast Track is an on-the-job training program open to anyone with an interest in aerospace. The 12-to-15-week program pays $16 per hour and gives employees with little to no experience in aviation the skills they need to begin a career with Airbus.
“In turn, we’ll teach and measure these employees in a program of global competencies for working on aircraft: torqueing, riveting, gauging, reading blueprints, how to use tools, ergonomics and more,” Taylor said. “When they come out of that training, the employee graduates to on-the-job training on A220 and A320 aircraft.”
The available jobs for the Fast Track program are electricians, structural assemblers and members of the corrosion team. The jobs are listed on the Airbus ApplicantPro career site.
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