AAR Partners with Wayne Community College to Expedite Welding Careers
Custom program fast tracks training; workers increase salaries by up to $4.50/hour
GOLDSBORO, North Carolina – Through a successful public-private partnership with Wayne Community College, global aerospace and defense leader AAR has designed an 8-week welding certificate program to address a shortage of welders at AAR Mobility Systems. It typically takes a year to earn a welding diploma at Wayne. Under the customized curriculum, incumbent workers from AAR who complete the course can test for their welding certificate and immediately increase their salaries by as much as $4.50 per hour.
With the nation’s unemployment rate hovering just below 8 percent (7.8 percent in December, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics), partnerships between private companies and local colleges are helping to speed the economy recovery for people in need of jobs now. Wayne recently added daytime classes to accommodate AAR employees who work nights, so students earn a paycheck while they learn. Six AAR employees have successfully completed the program and two have gone on to earn their one-year welding diploma from Wayne.
AAR Mobility Systems manufactures specialized equipment used by military to transport troops and supplies around the world. The Mobility workforce consists of entry-level laborers, welders, painters and machine operators. Welders are the most difficult positions to fill.
“The fast-track program is helping us to build a pipeline of talent and provides employees in lower-skilled positions, such as grinders, a clear pathway to advancement to mid-skills jobs,” said Kevin Johnson, Training Specialist for AAR. “Across middle America, AAR is providing thought leadership to solve hiring challenges related to profound skills gaps in manufacturing and aerospace.”
AAR also teamed up with Wayne Community College to develop an Introduction to Manufacturing Course for the general public to build a pipeline of talent. Classes began on October 29, and the curriculum includes soft skills training.
AAR also partners with educators, nonprofits and industry associations in Miami, Indianapolis, Hot Springs, Ark., and Oklahoma City to align curricula with industry standards. Last fall, AAR released the study, “The Mid Skills Gap in Middle America: Building Today’s Workforce,” using itself as an example of a midsized company dealing with hiring challenges that have the potential to threaten business growth. The study (available at www.aarcorp.com/mid-skills ) concluded that public-private partnerships are critical to overcoming hiring challenges for jobs that require industry certification but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree.
“Students who are more on the career track than the college track need access to skills training options to pursue good-paying jobs and advance in the workplace,” said Diane Ivey, Director of the Wayne Business and Industry Center. “It’s important for educational institutions to work closely with business to ensure that what we’re teaching matches industry needs so our students are work-ready.”
The fast-track welding curriculum also is available to non-AAR employees through Wayne Community College’s adult continuing education initiatives. Most recently, AAR worked with local industries and the college to develop an Introduction to Manufacturing course designed to prepare students for manufacturing careers.
“As people move up to welding, we’ll have to hire more grinders,” Johnson said. “This creates career paths and will open up opportunities for our other manufacturing employees.”
Previously, AAR collaborated with local educators, nonprofits and industry associations in Goldsboro to spearhead adoption of the Career Readiness Certificate (CRC), a nationally portable skills credential that assesses the work readiness level of job applicants and incumbent workers.
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. AAR’s Aviation Services include inventory management; parts supply; OEM parts distribution; aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul; engineering services and component repair. AAR’s Expeditionary Services include airlift operations; mobility systems; and command and control centers in support of military and humanitarian missions. More information can be found at www.aarcorp.com.
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This press release contains certain statements relating to future results, which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on beliefs of Company management, as well as assumptions and estimates based on information currently available to the Company, and are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from historical results or those anticipated, including those factors discussed under Item 1A, entitled “Risk Factors”, included in the Company’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize adversely, or should underlying assumptions or estimates prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described. These events and uncertainties are difficult or impossible to predict accurately and many are beyond the Company’s control. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events. For additional information, see the comments included in AAR’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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