Over the summer, the University of Alaska Fairbanks received a new plane for students to work on at its Community and Technical College, donated by Bering Air Inc, out in Nome. Read the full story here.
Located a 10-minute drive north from UAA’s Main Campus and right on Merrill Field lies the Aviation Technology Center. While the historic Anchorage airport is a natural home for the university’s aviation programs, the separation can sometimes make it easy to forget about that corner of campus.
Despite the distance, the Aviation Technology Division (ATD) is anything but an aside. Housed under UAA’s Community and Technical College, ATD boasts a nearly 100 percent job placement rate for graduates from all four of its programs: aviation maintenance technology, air traffic control, professional piloting and aviation administration.
“It is unlikely that you can go to an aviation employer in this state and not find a graduate from our programs,” says Paul Herrick, UAA’s new ATD director. “The way we state it is that everyone who looks for a job, gets a job. You have to not want a job to not get one. Our students’ large presence in Alaska aviation is a legacy that we’re really proud of.”
That legacy includes a whole range of positions with small operators, regional airlines, major air carriers and even the Federal Aviation Administration.
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Many college students struggle with the balance of going to class and having to work to pay for their education. Rather than waiting until after graduation to start making money, students in the UAA Aviation Degree & Airline Pilot Employment program can now start working while finishing their education.
On Wednesday, UAA and Ravn Air Group announced the launch of a new program that allows students to simultaneously complete their aviation degree and work as regional airline pilots.
“The uniqueness is that the pilots come to us already qualified, but they are not yet finished with their undergraduate,” Ravn Senior Vice President of Flight Operations Deke Abbott said. “So they get credit for their undergraduate degree, while at the same time earning a living as a new commercial pilot.”
The program is a win-win for Ravn and for the students, UAA Director of Aviation Technology Paul Herrick said.
“The employment component is the different element of this, which we are really excited about,” he said. “Because students do want to get out and start making money, and start advancing their career with an actual air carrier.”
UAA’s aviation maintenance, piloting and air traffic control programs have been in place for nearly three decades and have supplied the aviation workforce in Alaska, Herrick said.
By Dec. 31, 2017, of the 609,306 total piloting jobs available in the U.S, 42,694 of those were held by women, representing seven percent of the total piloting jobs in the country, according to the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Annual U.S. Civil Airmen Statistics report. Additionally, in that report, the FAA totaled women working in aviation in non-piloting jobs — which includes everything from mechanics to dispatchers — to represent only 29.2 percent of the total jobs.
Girls in Aviation Day — an annual worldwide event hosted by Women in Aviation International (WAI) — is hoping to change these statistics and introduce young girls into the world of aviation early on, and help them discover the numerous career opportunities within the industry.
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