New program helps teens with aviation career paths

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Aviation Pathway is helping high schools students with a path to jobs in the aviation industry. 

The program officially began this school year. There are 300 students enrolled in the program, which is offered at four Wichita high schools.

"Not every job that our community needs requires a college education. It's not a good choice for everyone. This allows us to get students prepared for those careers that will pay very well with a specific technical training they need to be successful," said Jim Means, executive director of career and technical education for USD 259.

The program is offered at West, North, Northwest, and Southeast High School.

"It is very exciting because we talk a lot about education and business and industry can work together. This was the textbook example of how those two entities can come together and make something exciting," said Means.

In the spring of 2018, Aviation Pathway was announced by Wichita Public Schools and WSU Tech at Textron Aviation.

Students can choose between two paths in the Aviation Pathway program, aviation production or aviation maintenance.

"We're in the middle of this giant skills gap, so we have employers that are crying out for help that they don't have enough trained employees," said Andy McFayden, executive director of strategic communications for WSU Tech. "The program allows students to start earlier, exploring those careers in aviation, and making sure they know what all of their opportunities are."

The program will be a highlight during a White House visit to Wichita on Thursday. 

President Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will tour WSU Tech and host a roundtable.

Ivanka Trump is the co-chair of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Dr. Sheree Utah, the president for WSU Tech, is a member of that advisory board.  

"An exciting deal for the college and again amplify that messaging of workforce working with local colleges to create opportunities for students," said McFayden.

To learn more about the program, click here.

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