Kirkwood offers partnership with SkyWest
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A guaranteed job interview to help a career take off- that’s the promise for a new program at Kirkwood Community College.
The program aims to solve a shortage of airline maintenance workers that can contribute to flight delays nationwide. One study estimates the U.S. will need 48,000 workers by 2027.
SkyWest operates regional flights out of the Eastern Iowa Airport for major carriers like Delta, American, and United. It’s partnering with Kirkwood Community College and putting together a hangar at the Eastern Iowa Airport-- giving students hands-on training and a guaranteed interview with SkyWest.
The SkyWest AMT Pathway Program is giving Aviation Maintenance Technology students at Kirkwood Community College the unique opportunity.
“I joined the France Air Force for about 11 years and I met a woman during that period of time and she’s American and she made me move here basically,” said Arien Johnson, a student in the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Kirkwood.
After moving to America from France, Adrien Johnson found himself missing the aviation community.
”When I saw the program, it was an immediate ‘Okay this is for me. I need to pursue this career,’” Johnson said.
Adrien said that he is confident that the two years in the program will land him a job, hoping to stay local. The goal of the partnership between Kirkwood and Skywest aims to give more opportunities to students like Adrien by having them train alongside Skywest staff.
”I always tell everybody it’s a great communication tool. One of the reasons that I say that is because they will be assigned to somebody like myself that they can ask questions to if they have questions about aviation. It’s great to be able to have someone to answer those things,” said Douglas McCartney, a SkyWest designated trainer.
Kirkwood says that having this program is a big deal for the school -- having to get industry support and work with the FAA to make it a reality.
”SkyWest is feeling the shortage just like anyone else is and for them to come in and offer our students the benefit at no risk to the student, they get interviews, they get seniority, there’s some reimbursement. So, the partnership is a big deal to the students and to our community. It’s really going to enforce the needs of graduates out of this particular program,” said Colette Atkins, Associate Vice President of Kirkwood Community College.
The classes can have up to 24 students in them, but there is already a waitlist for next semester.
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