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Regional Representation

Regional Groups Aid Workforce Development

Workforce development is a top priority throughout the industry, and regional aviation groups have taken an important role in educating and nurturing students interested in business aviation careers.

Waco, TX, is home to more than 40 aviation and aerospace-related companies. The Greater Waco Aerospace Alliance (GWAA) identified the need nearly 15 years ago to support the area’s future aviation workforce, which led to creation of the Freedom Ball. The annual event raises money for GWAA scholarships while also honoring area veterans and active-duty military.

“These scholarships are specifically for graduates from our local high schools attending a higher-education institution in our area, or an outside student with plans to stay and work in Waco,” said Jennifer Branch, director of existing industries and workforce development for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. “We want workers who will stay here and enter jobs at our local employers.”

“I think we opened some eyes about opportunities and investment in our industry's workforce.”

Jenny Showalter Board Secretary, Central Florida Business Aviation Association

In late March, the Northern California Business Aviation Association held its second-annual Aviation Mechanic Roundtable, hosting some 50 students from Oakland-area A&P schools who not only learned of potential business aviation career opportunities, but also received tips on networking, resume preparation and developing interview skills.

“I was a community college kid in New York who loved aviation, but no one ever told me programs like this existed,” said NBAA Western Regional Representative Phil Derner, who helped organize the event.

“The return from this is so great when you can invest in the futures of these students and interact with them in a laid-back format,” added Derner. “All that’s needed is participation and heart.”

Building such relationships drives regional workforce events, agreed Jenny Showalter, a founding member and board secretary for the Central Florida Business Aviation Association (CFBAA). More than 300 people attended CFBAA’s Business Aviation Day on April 1, half of them students.

“I think we opened some eyes about opportunities and investment in our industry’s workforce,” Showalter said. “In particular, I think students connected the dots that business aviation is driven by personal relationships. We’re a family. I think that resonates with young aviation professionals.”

One person who attended the CFBAA event wasted no time in finding a role in the industry.

“He attended our event Friday morning and learned about a job opening with a Part 135 operator in Orlando, interviewed that afternoon and started CJ2 school the following Monday!” said Showalter.

Member "Horsepower" Drives GSLBAA Advocacy Efforts


The Greater St. Louis Business Aviation Association (GSLBAA) carries a powerful message on matters affecting business aviation at the local, state and regional levels. The group’s more than 420 members employ over 250,000 people and generate over $100 billion in revenue.

“I’m surrounded by a fantastic, talented group of aviation profession-als,” said GSLBAA President Rich Ropp. “Their engagement is truly what makes GSLBAA a successful organization, and their horsepower allows us to be effective advocates for our industry.”

Workforce development is a priority for the association, Ropp continued, including scholarship opportunities and outreach to area technical colleges.

“We’re currently working to get in front of more high school students, too,” Ropp said, “as that’s the time when many of them are first thinking about potential career paths.”

Ropp noted that young professionals (YoPros) in GSLBAA have been particularly helpful, matching students with internship opportunities and providing insights on business aviation.

“Before 9/11, you could basically drive up to a flight operation, knock on the door and see what it was about,” Ropp said. “That’s much harder to do now, but our YoPros are fantastic in finding ways for students to get that experience.”

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