Sunday, November 5, 2017

Aviation Companies Look For New Workers

A couple of aviation support companies around the state are encouraging big Illinois corporations to get involved in an effort to refresh the aviation industry in the Land of Lincoln. 

Greg Dellinger of Rockford aviation company AAR said there will soon be a need for hundreds of thousands of pilots and aviation mechanics. That’s because the average age of workers in these positions continues to increase. Dellinger said AAR does what it can to recruit, but Illinois’ large corporations need to get involved.

“Deere, CAT, Boeing, Woodward, AAR, get involved,” Dellinger said. “Put the air under the wings of these young people.”

Dellinger said it can be as simple as supporting a technical trades school, assisting with apprenticeships, or even simply making a visit to a school to talk to students.

East Alton’s West Star Aviation Marketing Vice President Debi Cunningham agreed.

“It’s just really important for them to show schools and these apprenticeship programs that ‘hey, we’re available and we need you just as much as the aviation industry in general’,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said big corporations with their own flight departments know how important it is getting new blood into the aviation field.

“They need and want that same type of skilled labor in aviation that we’re looking for,” Cunningham said.

Cunningham said the sky’s the limit for career opportunities in aviation.

Dellinger said Illinois has one of the best aviation networks in the country, but it’s time for a refresh.

“I think that the whole aviation community across our great state could really come together and coalesce to uplift the amazing opportunities in aviation,” Dellinger said.

If there’s not a cooperative approach to refresh the industry with new talent in Illinois, Dellinger said other states could snag Illinois’ workforce.

“If we let it go away, it will,” Dellinger said.

Both Dellenger and Cunningham said Illinois is in prime position to grow the state’s workforce if all stakeholders work together.

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