Vincennes, AAR Partner on Aviation Maintenance Talent

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Vincennes University is partnering with Illinois-based AAR Corp. (NYSE: AIR), an aviation services provider, on a new maintenance education and training effort. The university says AAR's EAGLE Career Pathway program will expand the existing VU aviation maintenance technology program to include job shadowing and mentoring, as well as academic support and monitoring. 

Ryan Goertzen, vice president of maintenance workforce development for AAR, says the EAGLE Pathway program will show the variety of careers that can come from aviation maintenance beyond "just turning wrenches." VU says students who pursue the FAA-certified aircraft mechanic's certificate will be eligible for up to $15,000 in tuition reimbursements from AAR.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman, Goertzen said the program aims to create a pipeline of talent.

"And also, we want to give the schools basically a marketing tool that they can reach out into the high schools and into the middle schools with that they can start to plant the seed of aviation in what is their pipeline into the college," said Goertzen. "Everybody needs technicians. We're just creating the first real pathway program that really makes it easy for mom and dad, who are thinking about sending their son or daughter to an aviation school, we've got a pathway program that'll show that that investment is more than worth it."

Goertzen cites a study from Boeing that shows a demand for 189,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians in North American alone through 2037 and the partnership was established to help fill that gap. He says while workers will start as technicians, but can grow to different roles such as supervisor, project manager, program manager, director of maintenance, all the way up to general manager of a facility.

"Vincennes University is proud of the long and successful association we have had with AAR, and with this new announcement we are taking the partnership to the next level,” said VU President Chuck Johnson. "This program combines a great company in a key industry sector whose economic impact is growing in central Indiana and throughout our state, with VU’s tradition of producing the highest quality aviation technicians. Further, we are grateful for the opportunity to help more Hoosiers acquire the training, education and skills they need by leveraging the funds available through the governor’s Next Level Jobs program."

The EAGLE program has also been introduced at colleges in Michigan, Illinois and Minnesota.

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