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Alamo Area Aerospace Academy Providing Education and Critical Training/Experience

A month ago I wrote about an education program that Airbus sponsors to help provide education as well as hands on training at the Airbus Lycée.  That article led to a couple of pretty in-depth discussions on LinkedIn that are actually still going.

The general consensus of those discussions was that the aviation industry as a whole needs to do a better job promoting themselves, and all of the various options that exist for jobs in aviation.  I for one think we also need to create more programs that provide better opportunities for young people to get training, and the all important “work experience”.

I came across another great program that is not only fostering aviation, but in some cases is leading to actual jobs.

The Alamo Area Aerospace Academy is one of four vocational training schools in the San Antonio area that puts students on the fast track to careers in various industries.  The Aerospace Academy was developed out of a need for workers at Lockheed Martin.  As their workforce was retiring they needed a pipeline for training young, new employees.  So they worked with the local government, community college, aerospace companies, and school districts to develop a program to get kids excited about aviation, and get them the necessary training.

The program lasts two years and includes a paid internship between the students’ junior and senior years.  During the school year the classes provide hands on training and experience while still earning students credit towards high school graduation, and even a good chunk of an associate degree.

This is exactly the type of program that we need more of in every industry, and especially in aviation.  It is far easier to get excited about education when you see the practical application of it.  The reality is that college is not for everyone, and that training like this can be far more valuable for many people than a four-year degree would ever be.

Apparently the program is creating the desired results as Lockheed Martin estimates that 20% of their direct hire workforce comes from the Aerospace Academy.  And, as I already mentioned, three other industries have developed similar academies to train their own workforce.

While this is not necessarily the right approach for everyone, or every industry, we need to develop more programs just like this.  Youth are ready to get excited about a career well before they reach college, and aviation needs to be there when they are developing that excitement.  If we want to attract the best and the brightest, we need to get them hooked earlier than we are right now.

What other programs could we create to help get young people excited about aviation, and prepare them for potential careers in the industry?

March 10, 2013 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

High School Aviation Endures Bumpy Ride

A few weeks back I wrote about a program that is bringing aviation to students in middle and high school.  With a little bit of searching I found an article entitled:  High school aviation endures bumpy ride, at  It outlines some of the struggles that this program has had, and how they have tweaked their curriculum to make the program more effective.

Like so many programs of the sort they started with the idea of making pilots out of these kids.  After seeing the program not even come close to reaching enrollment goals, they made a shift to include aircraft designers and mechanics, as well as laying the groundwork for an engineering degree.  This is the type of program that needs to be created all over the country.

One of the problems I have with our education system is that it is based far too much on getting every kid to college, when that is not the best route for every kid.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mechanic, or photographer, or any number of other trades that require no college education.  We just need to get kids into those fields earlier, and with better training.

If someone wants to go to college then great, but if someone really just wants to turn wrenches in a plane then lets get them the right training early on.  With jobs like that a person is far better served by getting their hands on the tools and equipment and doing some real learning than they are spending hours on end in an art class that they will never use.

I have a college degree, in aviation, and I am glad I have it because with the career path I am pursuing it is essential, but for kids who don’t need a full on degree program, a program like this is just the right thing.  I hope they will be able to find the funding they need to keep it going.

February 6, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.