SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Just announced by Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert is the Utah Aerospace Pathways program, which will provide students the opportunity to graduate high school with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing and begin an aerospace manufacturing career.
“The creation of the Utah Aerospace Pathways program will benefit Utah students for generations to come. This is among the first time industry partners and K-12 educators are working closely together to directly address their workforce needs in the state,” Herbert said. “We look forward to unlocking more opportunities with industry leaders to improve education and to ensure lasting economic growth in Utah.”
The collaboration started in March of this year with the goal of developing a pilot program for the 2015 school year. The first semester of the program will take place in high schools in Granite and Davis School Districts, while the second semester will take place at Davis Applied Technology College and Salt Lake Community College. Students will also participate in a paid internship during their senior year of high school.
“Improving our education system is the most important thing we can do to build a strong economy for the future,” said Larry Coughlin, general manager of Boeing Salt Lake. “This program provides students who have a passion for technology and innovation the opportunity to become familiar with aerospace manufacturing and get hands-on experiential learning.”
Upon completing the UAP program, along with passing pre-employment requirements, students will be certified to begin work with one of the aerospace partners in Utah. Not only will the students begin work at a family-sustaining wage, many of the industry partners have agreed to provide tuition reimbursements after a minimum of one year working for the company. If the student prefers, they can pursue training within their company and work their way up there.
“We are thrilled for this opportunity to partner with K-12 to train students in aerospace manufacturing,” said Deneece Huftalin, president of Salt Lake Community College. “With this pathway, students will be able to enter the aerospace field with a recognized credential and, when ready, return to the college for additional advanced certificates or degrees.”
The six aerospace industry partners in Utah are Boeing, Harris, Hexcel, Hill Air Force Base, Janicki, and Orbital ATK.