Monday, May 8, 2017

New curriculum aims to prepare high school students for aerospace industry jobs

North Charleston's R.B. Stall High School will be among six schools throughout South Carolina participating in a program beginning this fall to prepare students for careers in the aerospace industry.

The curriculum, recommended by the SC Aerospace cluster of aviation-related industries, will consist of four courses: fundamentals of aerospace technology; advanced aerospace technology; aeronautics engineering applications; and astronautics engineering applications. The courses are designed to appeal to students who are curious about the design and flight of aircraft and spacecraft. They can be completed over two or four years, depending on how schools schedule classes.

Other schools that will participate in the program include: Battery Creek High School in Beaufort; Edisto High School in Cordova; Emerald High School in Greenwood; Sumter Career and Technology Center in Sumter; and, beginning in 2018, Pickens County Career and Technology Center in Liberty.

Each school will receive $50,000 from the state Department of Education to help cover startup costs.

"Talent development is a top priority for our industry," James Stephens, chairman of the SC Aerospace Education Working Group, said in a statement. "This curriculum is a great fit for South Carolina's aerospace industry in particular because it is multi-disciplinary. Students learn aerospace engineering principles and written and oral communication skills through presenting their projects to industry representatives."

The curriculum has been adopted by nine schools in five other states, including: Ohio, North Carolina, Delaware, West Virginia and Alabama.

With private-sector aerospace jobs paying an average of $70,000 per year in South Carolina, officials say the curriculum represents an opportunity for students to prepare for high-tech careers in a growing industry.

"I can tell you that if you learn skills to work on or around airplanes, it's likely you'll have a well-paid job for life," said Steve Townes, chairman of SC Aerospace and CEO of Ranger Aerospace in Greenville.

Power surge

The South Carolina Power Team, an economic development group representing Moncks Corner-based electric provider Santee Cooper and many of the state's electric cooperatives, said it helped recruit $121.7 million in capital investments by industries creating 689 new jobs during the first quarter of 2017.

"We are off to a strong start this year," said James Chavez, the group's president and CEO.

The biggest project was a $50 million manufacturing facility in Ridgeville where Sundaram-Clayton Limited will make aluminum cast products for the automotive industry. The project is expected to create 130 jobs. Production is scheduled to start by the end of 2018.

Special delivery

Boeing Co. is on pace to deliver its 550th 787 Dreamliner in May, less than six months after the 500th delivery of the popular wide-body jet.

The 550th delivery should occur on May 23, according to statistics compiled on the All Things 787 website. Two Dreamliners are expected to be delivered that day — a 787-9 to Air Canada, built at Boeing's North Charleston campus, and a 787-9 to Etihad Airways, built at the company's Everett, Wash. plant. It's not clear which of those two planes will get the designation of No. 550.

Boeing delivered nine Dreamliners to customers in April, according to analyst Uresh Sheth, the website's author. That includes eight in Everett and three in North Charleston. Sheth said deliveries at the North Charleston campus have been slowed by the introduction of the 787-10, the largest Dreamliner, into the production line. The 787-10 will be built exclusively in North Charleston because its mid-body is too large to transport to the West Coast.

Through the first four months of this year, Boeing has delivered 41 Dreamliners — 10 787-8s and 31 787-9s — bringing the program total to 541 deliveries.

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