The Sky is the Limit for CGCC Aviation Students
Thursday, August 09, 2012
At first glance, the connection between The Boeing Company and Chandler-Gilbert Community College (CGCC) may not seem evident, but there is not only a connection between one of Fortune magazine’s best companies to work for and CGCC, there is a strong relationship. Over the past two decades, Boeing, a major employer in Arizona for 30 years, has hired more than 80 CGCC graduates. Today, Boeing’s Mesa location has 43 full-time and 21 contract employees who are CGCC graduates.
Boeing is grateful for its strong relationship with CGCC and the opportunity it gives the company to develop and hire talented, diverse workers to design and build the world’s greatest aerospace products,” said Tony Ham, Site Leader and Director of Operations at the Mesa site. Boeing in Mesa builds Apache helicopters for the U.S. Army and electrical components for Boeing commercial and military products. With nearly 5,000 employees in Arizona, there are many career opportunities for these students, he added. Mike Hutto, a faculty member who has been with CGCC’s Aviation Program for more than 13 years, has seen Boeing’s relationship with CGCC grow stronger.
Boeing has contributed annual student scholarships of $5,000 in past years and boosted that amount to $10,000 in 2012. Boeing and other members of the aviation industry also serve on CGCC’s advisory council. The key to our relationship with Boeing and other aviation leaders is that as a community college we listen to and serve the community, said Hutto. When aviation leaders tell us what skills, certifications and requirements they look for in employees, we listen and change our program’s focus to meet those needs. The result is that our students get internships and scholarships and ultimately hired. Boeing and other aviation council members offer internships to CGCC students that provide real-world experience, industry certifications and on-site time with potential future employers.
Boeing’s internship program includes six CGCC students. To date, two CGCC student interns have been hired by Boeing full-time. In the past two years, four Boeing student scholarship recipients from the CGCC aviation program have been hired in Mesa. Gina Lee, a Boeing precision structural assembler, earned her Aviation Maintenance Technician certificate from CGCC. "Getting the certificate helped me gain skills for the job at Boeing. It gave me the opportunity to even be considered", she said. Art Contreras, an assembly technician on the Apache production line at Boeing, was hired after a three-month internship. He earned his Airframe and Power Plant certificate from CGCC. “Getting my certificate was a great way for someone with no previous experience in the aircraft field to get hired at Boeing".
The CGCC aviation program strives to meet or exceed industry standards it offers the only FAA-approved community college aviation maintenance and flight programs in metro Phoenix. Aviation council participation, tool and material donations from Boeing, Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft, and certifications and industry licenses, such as airframe and power plant, make the CGCC aviation program attractive to students and employers. The program’s focus is on producing pilots and technicians that meet or exceed aviation industry's needs. CGCC aviation program highlights include aircraft construction, maintenance and electronics/avionics.
For aviation students seeking degrees, CGCC’s Williams Campus partners with the University of North Dakota to offer coursework in pilot training. In addition, CGCC has partnered with Arizona State University Polytechnic to offer a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. As the aviation industry continues to diversify its presence in Arizona, and CGCC continues to listen to and serve the industry, the sky is the limit for CGCC aviation program graduates.