AAR joins with AIM for the EAGLE Pathway program, which is designed to provide a systematic path for high school students to develop their careers.
Written by Nicole Gleaton
On Thursday, July 25, 2019, Gerald Yagen, President of Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM), met with Ryan Goertzen of AAR, the largest Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) operator in North America. Mr. Goertzen’s visit to Norfolk was twofold. He started the day at the Huntersville and Berkley Community Centers, where he spoke to the 10-12-year-old participants of Fly Norfolk, a joint venture between AIM and the City of Norfolk’s Parks and Recreation summer camp program. Throughout the program, children are exposed to various careers in aviation, and Mr. Goertzen was on-hand to provide information and answer questions about careers in aviation maintenance.
Additionally, Mr. Goertzen welcomed AIM into AAR’s EAGLE Pathway program with the official signing on Thursday afternoon. For AIM students, this will mean a 23-month program that culminates in a trip to one of AAR’s airframe maintenance facilities, which are in Indianapolis, Oklahoma City, Miami, Rockford, IL, and Duluth, MN, to receive on-site mentoring. Internships will be scheduled during AIM’s Winter and Spring breaks and will be coordinated according the geographic location of the student’s home campus. Students who successfully complete the program and internship will be all but guaranteed employment with AAR, where they can earn tuition reimbursement of $5,000 per each of three level rankings they obtain. AAR also pays relocation expenses for employees. For AIM, this partnership will also provide free aircraft training to instructors, so they are better able to prepare students for the workforce. A recent Boeing study shows a predicted shortage of 193,000 new aircraft mechanics in North America through 2037. This joint effort by AIM and AAR aims to provide a clear pathway for students and skilled technicians for today’s workforce in response to that shortage.
Also present for the signing were members of AIM’s staff: Joel English, Vice President of Operations, Jeremiah Scarbrough and Pat Thomas, Regional Directors of Operations, Nicole Gleaton, Communications Coordinator, Ben Clark, Director of Student Affairs, Zoe Thompson, Director of Education, Bruce Jones, Campus Executive Director, and Brad Groom, Assistant Campus Director. From the City of Norfolk: Wynter Benda, Chief Deputy City Manager, Thomas Smigiel, Jr., Norfolk City Council Member, Kenyetta Goshen, Senior Director of Norfolk City Public Schools. Others present: Chuck McPhillips of the Greater Norfolk Corporation and Bruce Holbrook.