When Governor Herbert announed the Utah Aerospace Pathways program (UAP) in September of 2015, it was met with industry professional support and student interest. Industry leaders formed an unprecedented partnership with the governement and education leaders to address a critical need for skilled workers.
In a press conference held at the Cedar City Airport on April 26, 2016, Governor Gary Herbert announced the expansion of UAP program to the Iron County School District in Cedar City. The Office of the Governor reported the economical and educational impact this will have for our state in a press release quoted below.
This unique program has brought aerospace industry representatives, education leaders and government together in an unprecedented collaboration.
“The Utah Aerospace Pathways program expansion into Cedar City provides a great economic impact for Iron County,” Gov. Herbert said. “This innovative program is addressing our state’s skilled labor force demand and is a model for the rest of the nation.”
Iron County School District students will have the opportunity to receive training in a three trimester program during their senior year in high school. The first trimester of the aerospace manufacturing certification will take place in the high schools, while the second trimester will require specific content learning from Southwest Applied Technology College (SWATC). Students will then be able to participate in an internship with MSC Aerospace during the last trimester their senior year.
“MSC Aerospace not only builds complex aircraft components for the U.S. Military and companies like Boeing, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin—the company also builds the fastest, highest flying, longest range light jet in the world,” said Whitney Clayton, CEO of MSC Aerospace. “To do that, we need a top-tier, highly skilled workers. We are honored to be partnering with the state of Utah and other distinguished companies within the Utah Aerospace Pathways program, and also with Iron County School District and SWATC to train workers to join our team.”
Upon completing the UAP program, students will be certified to begin work with one of the aerospace partners in Utah. It is anticipated that the majority of the Iron County students will interview for jobs with MSC Aerospace in Cedar City or use this experience to launch into their post high school education plans. As students begin their career, they have the option to receive additional training and advance their career in metal manufacturing. Students certified in Iron County may also pursue opportunities with other UAP industry partners in the Salt Lake area.
“Offering our students quality education and career opportunities is vital to building a strong local economy,” said Brennan Wood, president of SWATC. “This collaboration not only offers innovative training, but it also prepares students to enter the job market or return to college for additional training.”
The program’s launch has been made possible through the dedication and commitment of several organizations throughout Utah, including the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the Department of Workforce Services. Iron County School District, SWATC, and the State Office of Education (USOE) have also worked through the educational requirements, developing the curriculum and providing teachers and school career counselors with the necessary materials.
The six other aerospace industry partners in Utah are Albany Engineered Composites, Boeing, Hexcel, Hill Air Force Base, Janicki, and Orbital ATK. All partners will continue to collaborate on aerospace workforce needs statewide.
Information & words adapted and used from GOED newsroom.