AAR connecting with high school students to mold future workers

Hiring Hoosiers
Posted at 7:06 AM, Jul 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 09:37:12-04

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INDIANAPOLIS —Maintenance and repairs are at the heart of making sure aviation remains a safe way to travel around the country and world.

AAR employees provide key services to a number of airline companies at Indianapolis International Airport. To face future challenges and demands, AAR has partnered with Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis to hire students after graduation.

"Absolutely not too young We really want to focus on this group for a reason,” says Ryan Goertzen, AAR Vice-President of Workforce & Maintenance.

He adds, "The aviation maintenance technician is in high demand and in order for us to keep up we at AAR needed to create a technicians program because they're not enough of them coming out of traditional routes like the military. In order to meet the demand, we had to come up with innovative programs that can grow talent from within."

Students begin on the ground floor as a materials handler and over the years can rise through the ranks.

We spoke to several Decatur Central High School students like Cole McCoy.

“I think it's the perfect career choice to get into because it offers the benefits of a lifetime,” said McCoy.

McCoy was excited when his principal asked him if he would be interested in the program. Besides academics, he believes he has the focus and interest to be successful in this career

“Dedication, I think having dedication like to stay in high school and It gets you ready for the outside life because you need dedication to have a good successful one,” said McCoy.

Alexis Bland wants to paint aircrafts and repair them.

“I like hands-on learning and I feel like this would be a good opportunity because I’m not really good with books and stuff but I can manage with Books but this is better for me because you actually get hands-on learning," said Bland.

It’s estimated 189,000 new aircraft technicians will be needed in North America through 2037 and the number needed worldwide is estimated at 750,000.

The partnership with AAR is among the efforts from the MSD Decatur to connect kids to jobs as well as to emphasis the importance of soft skills like good attendance, communication, and leadership.

“Hopefully they'll be employed, stay employed and be able to continue that pathway," said Dr. Chris Duzenberry, Director of College and Career Readiness,

It’s fitting that Decatur Central High School, the Home of the Hawks has a found in AAR a place where students' careers can take flight.

“This position is used as a bridge to understand the aviation maintenance profession. The students will have an opportunity to interface with quality-control, with our maintenance folks, as well as our management team. In a lot of different aspects that will provide them with the skills that they need so down the road, six months from now I can start an apprentice technician on the floor working alongside a mentor where they can learn maintenance on an airplane,” said Goertzen.