Wednesday, October 27, 2010
A ribbon cutting formally opens the National Center for Aviation Training or "NCAT" Wednesday. The Wichita Area Technical College program is in its first semester of classes.
And you can ask the same question in just about any of the 21 classrooms or 25 labs at NCAT and get similar responses. "How many have been laid over from the aircraft industry?" With over 12,000 on layoff, the answer is not a surprise. It is also no surprise that some students enrolling may doubt the ability to get a good job in the aircraft industry. But many are focusing on retaining for jobs the airplane makers will need in the future.
Those are the types of jobs local planemakers have been outsourcing, and will likely continue to outsource. So students are retraining for different jobs. Harold Anderson's class, for example, isn't trying to turn out future production line workers to punch out parts. Instead, workers prepare to become airframe and power plant technicians who service airplanes.
Students in one class are working in a composite fabrications lab. Some composites students have already been hired by such companies as Spirit Aerosystems which is involved in 787 composite work. These students believe composites are the way of the future.