Salina Career Fair Sizes Up City And Applicants

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Monday, July 18, 2011

An aviation company is looking to fill hundreds of job openings at a career fair Monday and Tuesday in Salina. At the same time, they're sizing up the city as well.

AAR Aircraft Services, a world leader in providing aircraft maintenance and modifications, wants to make sure Salina has enough of the right kind of people for it to move there. Salina's airport already has the large facilities necessary to house airline maintenance. But this week, the airline maintenance service company is in Salina trying to find out if the city also has the right workforce to do the work.

"Oh, we've got it in Salina. We've got plenty of skilled workforce here." job applicant Charles Cookson said. "I think I can give them what they want. I think there will be a lot of Hawker Beechcraft employees who will be able to give them what they want." That's what AAR Aircraft Services Corporation is trying to determine through the job fair which runs through Tuesday.

Cookson is one of those laid off from Hawker Beechcraft's Salina facility which is in the process of closing. Cookson hopes AAR Aircraft Services finds enough skilled workers at the career fair to motivate the company to set up shop in Salina. "What we're doing today is qualifying the maintenance, repair and overhaul, and the MRO workforce here in Salina," Greg Dellinger, director of AAR Corp. Recruiting said.

AAR wants a facility to service regional jets like those built by Bombardier and flown by many airlines including those flying through Wichita. Dellinger says AAR Corporation already knows Salina's airport has the facilities capable of housing a maintenance and repair service center with room for any needed expansion. "Clearly it makes a nice home for the type of aircraft we'd like to work on," Dellinger said.

So the question is what it would take to land AAR in Salina? "From a recruiting standpoint, it will take individuals with the great visibility on maintaining aircraft," Dellinger said. The company's specific requirements include airframe and power plant technicians, inspectors, avionics techs, and those who've worked interiors.

The company could make a decision within the next couple of months on whether Salina is the right place for them to expand.

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