Elliott Aviation launches one-of-a-kind apprenticeship program

Elliott Aviation is the first in the nation to launch an airframe mechanic registered apprenticeship program. 

Davenport Central High School and Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) are partnering with Elliott Aviation. Students in the program will be earning while they are learning. There they will be gaining hands-on experience in a real-world environment alongside Elliott’s certified employees. 

Elliott Aviation and the Davenport Central School District (DCSD) worked with the Iowa Department of Labor and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make the apprenticeship possible. Students will learn and practice inspecting airplanes for defects, fabricating parts, and assessing electronics, all under the supervision of their mentor.

“The aviation industry has so many high-paying, skilled and technical career opportunities that the future workforce isn’t currently getting enough exposure to,” said Adrienne Wheeler, vice president of human resources at Elliott Aviation. “It just makes sense that our industry begins to take advantage of the Iowa Department of Labor programs to support a future pipeline of talent.”

The first round of apprenticeships is expected to start this summer. Teachers and staff will identify two to three students who would be good fits for the program. Students can also complete three courses for high school credit to complement their work in the field.

“We are incredibly excited for the opportunity to partner with local high schools to create a talent pool for our industry through the Iowa Department of Labor Registered Apprentice Program,” Elliott Aviation CEO Greg Sahr said. “Service, avionics, interior, and paint technicians are all roles that Elliott is filling in 2022, and finding experienced talent is a challenge. In order for our industry and Elliott to sustain our current demand and future growth, we need strategic programs and partnerships in our communities to grow the future workforce and the DOL Apprentice Program is the perfect way to do that.”

Ms. Wheeler said expanding the Avionics CTE Program is a future goal, with intentions to add service, interior, and paint technicians, and apprentices.

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