July 29, 2019

Chances are that your company’s newest hires were once aviation scholarship recipients or interns, or perhaps they were first introduced to aviation at a career day. These forms of outreach are just some of the ways that regional business aviation associations nationwide are successfully reaching the next generation of aviation professionals while they are students.

For these groups, the benefits of student outreach include not only setting young people on new and exciting career paths, but also helping attract and retain aviation talent for their own regions and companies.

“It’s hard to find a Michigan Business Aviation Association (MBAA) member company who does not have at least one former scholarship winner in their ranks,” said Jay Orwin, MBAA president. “Several of our members can count nearly half of their active pilots as former scholarship participants.” Orwin noted that MBAA partners with several charter management companies to leverage training scholarships as an entry point, which provides students a clear path from the collegiate training environment into business aviation.

MBAA’s foundation provides funds and training scholarships to students from local universities each spring, and member companies offer paid internships for students and have staff who mentor future aviation professionals.

Workforce development is one of the three “pillars” of the Ohio Regional Business Aviation Association (ORBAA), and ORBAA President Lauren Behrens is gratified by the many programs and scholarships that her group participates in. She is especially proud of the Girls Soar Design Challenge that ORBAA hosted last year, a two-day event for 120 middle-school girls from underprivileged school districts. The girls participated in an aviation-based design challenge at the Ohio State University Airport, which featured guest speaker Shaesta Waiz, The STEM event was highly successful, and the initiative is being continued in the form of summer camps.

In the Mid-Atlantic area, the Aviation Council of Pennsylvania (ACP) helped sponsor the first-ever aviation career day held at Harrisburg International Airport (MDT), where regional educators learned about the wide variety of aviation career opportunities. ACP also works with the Boy Scouts of America to earn an aviation merit badge.

“Scouts toured Capitol City Airport and learned how to create an aviation flight plan and itinerary, as well as explain the operation of piston, turboprop, and jet engines,” said Debra Bowman, executive director, ACP.

ACP has worked with the Aviation Foundation of PA to offer scholarships in aviation technology, aviation management and professional pilot career opportunities. Recently, an ACP member company established an introductory aviation course with the Erie School District, and another member is partnering with several community colleges in establishing an aviation academy for high school students.

NBAA offers many workforce development resources for members in support of their student outreach efforts:

Direct questions about student-focused resources to NBAA at publications@nbaa.org.