Indy School District, AAR Partner on Direct Hire Program

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Chris Duzenbery is the director of college and career readiness for the district. Chris Duzenbery is the director of college and career readiness for the district.

The Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township in Indianapolis has unveiled a new partnership with Illinois-based aviation services provider AAR Corp. (NYSE: AIR). The partners have launched the Direct Hire Aviation Maintenance Education program to benefit students seeking a career in aviation maintenance after graduation. The program will provide hands-on learning to give students skills and knowledge to help prepare them for the aviation workforce. 

Chris Duzenbery, director of college and career readiness for the district, tells Inside INdiana Business Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman the program benefits both the students and AAR.

"The students benefit by being able to graduate from high school and know that they have a job to go directly into that has an apprenticeship training program built right into it to be a certified aircraft technician at AAR," said Duzenbery. "It will benefit (AAR) as well because they get trained employees that they are able to control at training."

Duzenbery says high school seniors were introduced to the program in March, eight of whom were able to complete the application process and will be hired into AAR's program upon graduation. Additionally, the students will have the opportunity to further their aviation maintenance education through Vincennes University for free through Governor Eric Holcomb's Next Level Jobs Grant.

Vincennes and AAR in January announced a partnership with AAR's EAGLE Career Pathway program. Duzenbery says partnerships like those are important for schools.

"I think that when it comes to having partnership like AAR and Vincennes, you look at what do you have in your own backyard. What's local? What's the demand? Who needs workers and how can they get trained to do the jobs that they have? For us, here in Indianapolis, there are only a couple of us, Wayne Township and Decatur Township, that the airport is literally in our backyard. So when it came to looking for a pipeline of students to be able to be in that employee part of the pipeline, AAR just thought it was very convenient, and so did we, that could actually be those people for them."

Duzenbery says companies like AAR have an immediate need to get employees right into the workforce. She says she hopes that, eventually, there will be a multi-pronged approach to direct hire programs that will appeal to different groups of students.

"We’re very excited about our partnership with Decatur Township, a school district that is known for its innovative approaches and forward-thinking solutions to the changing working world," Ryan Goertzen, vice president of maintenance workforce development at AAR, said in a news release. "Through this partnership, we are not only providing students with a tremendous post-graduation opportunity, but we’re also building a pipeline of talent that can change the trajectory of the aviation maintenance industry."

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