WMU partnership boosts aviation maintenance instruction, experience

Contact: Deanne Puca

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University's new partnership with AAR, a global provider of aviation services, is expected to enhance instruction for students studying to become aircraft maintenance technicians, providing real-life work experience and an opportunity to be hired upon graduation.

The newly launched AAR Eagle Career Pathway Program at WMU will expand the University's aircraft maintenance, repair and operating supply instruction and include job shadowing and mentoring opportunities, as well as the sharing of proprietary software information with students interested in careers as aircraft maintenance technicians.

Under this first-of-its-kind program for aviation maintenance, students will receive academic support and be monitored throughout their academic careers and have the opportunity to interview with AAR after graduation.

Training airplane in front of a WMU hangar.Dr. Raymond Thompson, WMU associate dean of the College of Aviation, joined Ryan Goertzen, AAR vice president of maintenance workforce development, to announce the partnership at a reception Oct. 26 at WMU's Aviation Education Center in Battle Creek.

"AAR is taking a leadership role in providing career pathways and guidance for those interested in pursuing a career in large aircraft maintenance," Thompson says. "The technician shortage is real and growing worse. Partnering with AAR provides the College of Aviation opportunity to attract a diverse group of youth into aviation maintenance, a well-paying and growing industry."

He adds that AAR Eagle further distinguishes WMU's already competitive aviation program with yet another resource for students pursuing a career in a high-demand field. It also works to help close the gap between the supply of mechanics and demand for them projected within the next decade that threatens the expansion and modernization of the global airline fleet.

"AAR EAGLE is about growing the maintenance technician talent pipeline and educating high school students on the exciting opportunities available to them in aviation maintenance," says Brian Sartain, AAR senior vice president of repair and engineering services. "Working alongside universities and colleges, like Western Michigan, we will provide a five-year career path program with access to the largest maintenance repair and overhaul network of facilities in the Americas. Our efforts will help address the industrywide shortage of technicians as well as guaranteed high-paying jobs to participants in the program."

For more program information, contact Thompson at raymond.thompson@wmich.edu or (269) 964-8020, or contact Goertzen at ryan.goertzen@aarcorp.com or (918) 576-9981.

About AAR

AAR is a global aftermarket solutions company that employs more than 6,000 people in over 20 countries. Based in Wood Dale, Illinois, AAR supports commercial aviation and government customers through two operating segments: Aviation Services and Expeditionary Services.

Aviation Services includes parts supply; OEM parts distribution; supply chain programs; customer fleet management and operations; aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; engineering services; and component repair. Expeditionary Services includes mobility systems, command and control centers in support of military and humanitarian missions, and composite manufacturing operations. Additional information can be found on the company website.

For more information about AAR, contact Daniela Pietsch, vice president of corporate marketing and communications, at editor@aarcorp.com or (630) 227-5100.

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