A pathway for aerospace industry careers has been launched in Tooele County.
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced the expansion of the Utah Aerospace Pathways program to Tooele County in a celebration held at Tooele Technical College on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are extending the aerospace pathway program to Tooele Technical College and Tooele County School District,” said Val Hale, executive director of GOED. “We are excited to see students in Tooele applying for the program.”
The Utah Aerospace Pathways program was started in March 2015. It is part of GOED’s “Talent Ready Utah” program. The aerospace program allows students to earn an industry recognized certificate in aerospace manufacturing and begin an aerospace manufacturing career.
Graduates of the program complete an externship and are guaranteed an interview by a participating partner. Participating industry partners include Albany Engineered Composites, Boeing, Hexcel, Hill Airforce Base, Janicki Industries, Kihomac, MSC Aerospace, Northrop Grumman, and Parker Aerospace.
There is a growing demand for aerospace industry workers, according to Michael Gitto, senior human resources business partner with Boeing Salt Lake.
“About one-third of our employees are at the point where they could retire tomorrow,” he said. “We need to see young people getting into the workforce for transfer of knowledge and skills.”
Local high school students can take advantage of the aerospace pathway program through a collaboration between the school district, Tooele Technical College and industry partners, according to Tooele County School District Superintendent Scott Rogers.
“Our high school students can enroll in the pathway at Tooele Tech and pay no tuition. … This is a perfect example of what collaboration between K-12, secondary education and industry can do to help students prepare for the future,” Rogers said. “We thank our industry partners and Talent Ready Utah for their support in expanding this offering to our students in Tooele County School District.”
Paul Hacking, president of Tooele Technical College, shared his excitement for the expansion of the Utah Aerospace program to Tooele County.
“The UAP program will be a great addition to Tooele Technical College, as we recently added a new composites lab to the institution,” he said. “The skills students will learn in this program, along with the other pathway courses available at Tooele County School District, will provide them with incredible opportunities in an industry that has seen significant growth in the state of Utah. We are excited to be a part of this collaborative effort with our friends at Tooele County School District, Talent Ready Utah, and valued aerospace industry partners.”
Tooele County School District is the fifth school district to offer the Utah Aerospace Pathway. The school district has 28 students enrolled in the program, which is more students than larger school districts have enrolled in the program, according to Kristy McLachlan, Tooele County School District career and technical education director.
“These aerospace industry jobs are good paying jobs and many of them are in areas within commuting distance from Tooele, like near the Salt Lake airport,” McLachlan said. “It’s possible for students to enroll in the program and end up with a good career without leaving the county.”