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AIM Joins Industry Leaders to Raise Awareness for Careers in Aviation Maintenance, Commits to Support Choose Aerospace Campaign

Posted by on Mar 12, 2019

The aviation industry faces dire challenges as it strives to recruit enough technicians to keep aircraft flying and airlines operating.  Boeing recently reported that the shortage of FAA-certified aircraft technicians has caused a vacuum within the airlines, and 189,000 trained technicians will be needed within the next 20 years.  But fewer than 20,000 students across the country are currently enrolled in Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) programs.  In order to promote aviation maintenance technology for new college students considering a career path, a new coalition of industry leaders called Choose Aerospace is coming together.

AIM_Choose Aerospace PR_Engine

AIM students receive hands-on training from one of their instructors.

Choose Aerospace, an awareness campaign spearheaded by the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), will bring together a coalition of industry stakeholders and educational leaders to quantify staffing needs and promote aerospace technical careers.  Hampton Roads-based Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) has signed on as Choose Aerospace’s primary educational sponsor for this venture.

“Aviation Institute of Maintenance is proud to announce its partnership with Choose Aerospace,” said AIM’s Director of Education Mark Holloway. “The coalition is a great opportunity for industry leaders to come together on an issue that will detrimentally impact us all if not addressed. The community must find a way to attract a diverse, qualified technical workforce, if we are going to attain the anticipated industry growth projections.”  AIM has 12 FAA-Certificated schools teaching aircraft maintenance across the country and is the largest family of aviation maintenance schools in the United States. “Partnering with Choose Aerospace just makes sense as we strive to make a positive impact on the lives of our students and the aviation industry,” Holloway said.

The campaign is a solutions-oriented effort to identify and implement strategies to address the aerospace workforce shortage. Kick-off activities will include market research to pinpoint the target audience and determine what marketing initiatives will have the most impact. Once the initial research is complete, the campaign will focus on brand development and content marketing, and other efforts intended to raise the public’s awareness of career opportunities in aviation maintenance.

AIM joins a growing list of companies, associations, and labor unions joining together to address the aviation workforce challenge. AIM’s Vice President of Operations, Dr. Joel English, explains, “It is clear that United Airlines, Envoy Airlines, PSA Airlines, Piedmont, and the other industry partners who are supporting Choose Aerospace hope to increase the flow of certified professionals to service their aircraft.  But this effort addresses not just the problem of a technician shortage; it addresses the problem of the average family not thinking about aerospace as an accessible and lucrative career path.  Young people and their families need to understand that programs like ours are efficient educational pathways to lifelong employment.  I feel that it was AIM’s duty to get involved with Choose Aerospace in order to increase the population of certified aviation professionals.”

As a Launch Sponsor of Choose Aerospace, AIM has committed to the highest level of support over the next three years in support of Choose Aerospace.  AIM is also doubling the capacity to train students at its Hampton Roads campus by moving to a 109,000 square foot campus in Norfolk, Va. The institution is also expanding its campuses in Charlotte, NC, Fremont, Calif., Las Vegas, Nev., and several other campuses around the country.  “We look forward to working with ATEC on this venture,” concluded Holloway, “and we can’t wait to see the positive impact it will have for future aviators.”

For more information about the campaign, visit www.chooseaerospace.org.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance:

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Fremont, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va.

AIM Orlando Grad Follows in Fathers Footsteps

Posted by on Jan 24, 2019

By Gail Strickland, AIM Orlando Student Services Coordinator

On Friday, June 15, 2018, Luis Navas attended his exit ceremony at Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) Orlando. However, this was no ordinary event for him.  Also, in attendance was his father, Gustavo Navas, who had graduated from AIM Orlando himself, almost exactly one year earlier, on June 11, 2017.

Utter pride showed on Gustavo’s face as he discussed what it meant for not only himself to have graduated, but his son, as well.

AIM Orlando Navas graduation

Luis Navas (left) and his father Gustavo (right) pose for a photo at Luis’s exit ceremony.

A Father’s Story

Prior to his time at AIM, Gustavo was working as an industrial mechanic in a Staples Warehouse.  He wanted something different and better though.  Gustavo has a cousin who works for Cessna and says that becoming an Aviation Maintenance Technician wasn’t on his mind until he received a tour of the Cessna hangar.  It was then that he fell in love with aviation. He says that since he graduated, he has reached his goal of working for Cessna and that people now look at him with respect.

Gustavo encouraged his son to go into the aviation field because he wanted him to have a bright future and be successful. However, Luis had different goals for himself.

Like Father, Like Son…Eventually

Luis began attending Lake Sumter State College.  After attending college for a time he felt like he was at a dead end and eventually dropped out.  Upon leaving Lake Sumter, Luis worked at U-Haul as a hitch pro but quickly grew frustrated. It was performing an oil change that changed his mind about becoming a mechanic.  He realized that he enjoyed working with mechanical things, then he took a tour of the same Cessna hangar his father had previously visited and recognized that it was a totally different world.

After the Cessna tour, he decided that this was what he wanted to do with his life – become an Aviation Maintenance Technician.

Almost exactly one year after his father began the program at AIM, Luis followed in his father’s footsteps and started school.  The father and son duo didn’t have any classes together, until Gustavo’s last block, Reciprocating Engines, taught by AIM Orlando Instructor James Allman.  Gustavo states that it took a push to get his Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification but, with support from Mr. Allman, he did it.

“The process is not hard, but you need passion,” says Luis. “That way, when challenges do come, you don’t feel intimidated, but can enjoy it.”

Gustavo wants to encourage future students to consider AIM and says, “In my opinion, this (AIM) is one of the highest quality schools in the industry.”  Gustavo and Luis are both looking forward to working together in the aviation field.

AIM Houston Surprises Local School with Donation of Backpacks

Posted by on Nov 7, 2018

By Rita Pradier, AIM Houston Community Outreach Representative

Most of us can remember back-to-school shopping in the weeks before the start of school. New clothes, shoes and, of course, the cool backpack and supplies that your mom told you not to touch. Things have changed and many families don’t have the resources to purchase all of the required school supplies so many weeks in advance. To the rescue – AIM Houston’s “Backpack Attack”.

Donated school supplies waiting to be stuffed into backpacks by AIM Houston.

Donated school supplies waiting to be stuffed into backpacks by AIM Houston.

Aaron Armendariz, Campus Executive Director at AIM Houston, challenged the campus to participate in the project, as a way to give back to the local community. With the promise of 250 backpacks and school supplies on order, each department found a way to help before the challenge deadline. Lucile Gregg Elementary, a Title I school located near the AIM Houston campus, was contacted. The school’s principal, Mr. David Jackson, was given the news of the forthcoming donation.

In the weeks leading up to the deadline, AIM Houston’s National Technical Honor Society approached area stores to donate 1,000 spiral notebook tablets. Soon after, the staff and students joined in to help reach the goal. Classes challenged each other to make sure there would be enough supplies for the backpacks.

The final tally came to 1,973 notebooks donated by students and staff at AIM Houston. At last, it was packing day and all departments lent a hand as supplies were sorted, organized, bundled and placed into the backpacks.

Campus Executive Director Aaron Armendariz poses for a photo with a Lucile Gregg Elementary student as she receives her backpack.

Campus Director Aaron Armendariz poses for a photo with a Lucile Gregg Elementary student as she receives her backpack.

On Tuesday, August 21, 2018 the backpacks were delivered by the campus management team to Principal Jackson and his staff, to be shared with families in need. The students and parents from Lucile Gregg Elementary entered the cafeteria expecting just to meet their classroom teachers. However, they were greeted to a table of backpacks filled with school supplies to kick off the school year.

The AIM team issued the backpacks and posed for pictures with some of the students. It was truly fulfilling to see the children’s’ faces as they came forward. Principal Jackson and his staff thanked us for blessing them with the donation and now consider AIM a community partner. AIM Houston looks forward to collaborating with Lucile Gregg Elementary again in the near future.

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Fremont, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.

AIM Las Vegas Graduate Spotlight: Wendell Gilkey

Posted by on Nov 5, 2018

AIM Las Vegas graduate Wendell Giley

AIM Las Vegas graduate Wendell Gilkey.

A father to three lovely children and a resident of the Las Vegas Valley, Wendell Gilkey was working full-time as a service technician for a local coffee service company before deciding to pursue a career in aviation maintenance.  Upon researching various schools, Wendell elected to attend AIM’s Las Vegas campus and enrolled into the Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) program.  In order to continue working and support his family, Wendell attended night classes.  He successfully graduated and moved quickly through the testing process in obtaining his Airframe and Powerplant certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Upon completion of his training program, Wendell stated, “The instructors here at AIM Las Vegas were all extremely helpful.  When I think about all of the work that I put in and the opportunities that are ahead of me, I feel so gratified.  I know that my confidence and determination will serve me well in job interviews.”

Sky Combat Ace’s Extra 330LC.

Having built his home and raising a family in Las Vegas, he desired to stay in the valley area in securing an A&P Mechanic position.  Gilkey’s wishes came to fruition when Sky Combat Ace (SCA) offered him a position as a maintenance technician. Sky Combat Ace offers unique flight experiences, with patrons having the opportunity to ride along with highly trained fighter pilots as they perform aerial aerobatics, and even provides guests the opportunity to take control of the aircraft, if they desire.  The aircraft they fly are the Extra330LC, and the Super Decathlon8KCAB.  These planes require highly skilled mechanics to ensure the safety of the pilots and the customers of SCA.

Wendell accepted Sky Combat Ace’s offer and is now employed as a FAA certified A&P mechanic Wendell says, “I love what I do! I couldn’t have done it without the help from the team at AIM Las Vegas.”

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Fremont, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.

AIM Chesapeake Student Honored with Rotary Club Scholarship

Posted by on Oct 22, 2018

By Megan Lewis, AIM Chesapeake Veteran Affairs Officer

Joel English (left), Nicole Cain and Doug Davis (right).

“I knew, at six years old, when I grew up I was going to be around anything that could fly. I don’t know if I’m a ‘grown up’ yet, but I feel like I’m living out my dream.”

This was written by Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) Chesapeake student, Nicole Cain, as part of her essay for a Rotary Club scholarship application. Nicole enrolled at AIM earlier this year after getting out of the Navy, where she worked on SH-60S helicopters.

The Rotary Club of Chesapeake, Virginia generously wanted to provide one local AIM student a $500 scholarship to pursue their education at the school. This was the first time they had offered a scholarship to a vocational/technical program individual. Several students turned in their applications and Nicole’s phenomenal essay was chosen out of all of the great submissions.

On September 12th the Rotary Club hosted a luncheon to award Nicole the scholarship. To her surprise, Rotary President, Doug Davis, presented her with a $1,000 check to support her educational dreams! Dr. Joel English, Vice President of Operations for AIM, announced that with AIM’s Scholarship Match program, Nicole would receive $2,000 total towards her schooling. It was a wonderful event, celebrating a dedicated student at AIM. Congratulations Nicole and best of luck in your pursuit of living out your dreams!

About Aviation Institute of Maintenance

Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is a network of aviation maintenance schools with campuses coast-to-coast across the United States and headquarters located in Virginia Beach, Va. AIM students are trained to meet the increasing global demands of commercial, cargo, corporate and private aviation employers. AIM graduates are eligible to take the FAA exams necessary to obtain their mechanic’s certificate with ratings in both Airframe and Powerplant. AIM’s campuses are located in the following major metro areas: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Dallas, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., Kansas City, Mo., Oakland, Calif., Orlando, Fla., and Norfolk, Va. Learn more at: www.AviationMaintenance.edu.