Western Michigan University’s new partnership with AAR is expected to enhance instruction for students studying to become aircraft maintenance technicians, providing real-life work experience and an opportunity to be hired upon graduation.
The newly launched AAR Eagle Career Pathway Program at WMU will expand the University’s aircraft maintenance, repair and operating supply instruction, and include job shadowing and mentoring opportunities, as well as the sharing of proprietary software information with students interested in careers as aircraft maintenance technicians. Under this first-of-its-kind program for aviation maintenance, students will receive academic support, be monitored throughout their academic careers and have an opportunity to interview with AAR after graduation.
Dr. Raymond Thompson, WMU associate dean of the College of Aviation, joined Ryan Goertzen, AAR vice president of maintenance workforce development, to announce the partnership October 26 at the University’s Aviation Education Center in Battle Creek.
“AAR is taking a leadership role in providing career pathways and guidance for those interested in pursuing a career in large aircraft maintenance,” Thompson says. “The technician shortage is real and growing worse. Partnering with AAR provides the College of Aviation opportunity to attract a diverse group of youth into aviation maintenance, a well-paying and growing industry.”
Thompson adds that AAR Eagle further distinguishes WMU’s already competitive aviation program with yet another resource for students pursuing a career in a high-demand field. It also works to help close the gap between the supply of mechanics and demand for them projected within the next decade that threatens the expansion and modernization of the global airline fleet.
“AAR EAGLE is about growing the maintenance technician talent pipeline and educating high school students on the exciting opportunities available to them in aviation maintenance,” says Brian Sartain, AAR senior vice president of repair and engineering services. “Working alongside universities and colleges, like Western Michigan, we will provide a five-year career path program with access to the largest maintenance repair and overhaul network of facilities in the Americas. Our efforts will help address the industrywide shortage of technicians as well as guarantee high-paying jobs to participants in the program.”