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 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.
Daniel Mendiola celebrates his graduation from the AMT program
Daniel Mendiola first came to Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) Oakland back in 2014. While in the Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) program, he worked as an electrician for his family’s company, Mendiola Home Repair, as well as a pest controller to help make ends meet financially. During his training program at AIM, Daniel maintained a stellar 3.78 GPA. He graduated from the AMT program in 2015 and continued to work towards gaining his A&P license.
Conference table built by Daniel Mendiola, constructed from wing of an aircraft.
In August 2017, he got a job opportunity to return to AIM as an Aircraft Assembly Technician. In this position, he was able to gain real hands-on experience to further prepare him for the aviation industry. He was the lead tech in charge of disassembling and reassembling aircraft. He also fabricated aircraft cradles and parts to move the aircraft. Other responsibilities included creating a custom welding hood and installing new compressor airlines for the facility. Additional custom-built projects included sound walls for running the aircraft in AIM Oakland’s new facility in Fremont, CA, as well as a conference table built from scratch, using a wooden airplane wing.
Daniel obtained his Powerplant rating in June 2018, and is continuing to study for his Airframe rating. In November of 2018, Boeing came to AIM Fremont and held a presentation, as well as on-site interviews. Daniel interviewed and was offered a position right away. He has since relocated to Renton, Washington, where he now works as an Aircraft Test Technician for Boeing. All of his hard work and determination has paid off and we wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors!
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.
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.
Desks, bookshelves, and other equipment that were donated will be used in facilities throughout Norfolk.
Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) has purchased a new facility on East Little Creek Road, in Norfolk, Virginia. AIM Chesapeake plans to relocate to this facility later this summer.
The building, once Calvary Christian School, had become a repository for school equipment and books suited to children. AIM invited the City of Norfolk and REACH, Inc. (Reading Enriches All Children) out to collect these items to give back to the community they will soon serve.
Employees from the City of Norfolk were on hand to load trucks and vans with desks, bookshelves, and other equipment that will be useful in recreation centers and other community facilities throughout the city. They were joined later by the Executive Director of REACH, Jennifer Goff. REACH was interested in the wealth of reading materials. REACH, established in 1998, focuses on literacy and education, specifically for at-risk and impoverished youth in the Hampton Roads area.
City of Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander speaks with AIM Chesapeake Campus Executive Director Bruce Jones.
Also on site was Norfolk Mayor Kenneth Alexander, who gave a brief statement about AIM’s contribution.
“We are excited about this wonderful gift. These are high- quality furniture and fixtures. Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Mr. Yagen, and Dr. English are great corporate citizens and continue to give back to the cities and communities where they have career education centers. This is a continuation of their generosity . . . [This equipment] will be used for our youth, for their growth and development in our recreation centers, as well as for our Community Services board.”
AIM is continuing to look for suitable homes for the remaining furnishings and materials that remain.
AIM has donated quite a bit of equipment already, but still has much to give. Janis Schoonmaker, Regional Director of Operations said, “We are reaching out to other organizations within the city. We hope to be able to donate to those individuals who will benefit most.”
Over the coming weeks, AIM will work toward finding suitable homes for the remaining furnishings and materials, before transforming the building into their flagship campus.
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The Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) is now offering a Maintenance Technician program at its location in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Maintenance Technician program joins AIM’s Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) and Aviation Maintenance Technician – Helicopter (AMTH) programs.
What is Maintenance Tech?
Maintenance technicians serve in a growing number of fields, including commercial building, theme park ride maintenance, and more.
So, just what is Maintenance Tech all about? The Maintenance Tech (MT) program draws from AIM’s core coursework in professional maintenance fields, introducing students to electricity, surfaces and controls, transportation structures, power systems, hydraulics, and electrical control systems. The MT program features specialized instruction within areas such as nondestructive testing, inspection, and assessment of maintenance projects, welding, wind energy, 3d printing, and other areas that the campus has designated as essential within the maintenance industry in the local area of the campus. Students have the option to take one of two electives: Industrial Pneumatic and Hydraulic Systems or Electrical Motors and Controls. Both program electives include the Occupational Safety and health Administration (OSHA) 10-hour general safety online certification.
Maintenance technicians serve in a growing number of fields, including transportation, robotics, commercial buildings, real estate, large and small engine repair, theme park ride maintenance, automotive repair, and many other industries.
AIM Las Vegas is licensed to operate by the Commission on Postsecondary Education. The campus is located at 5870 S Eastern Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89119. For more information regarding the Maintenance Technician, or and other programs available at AIM, please contact the campus at (702) 798-5511.
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 a
viation 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.