Here at the North Dakota Aeronautics Commission (NDAC), we are continually searching for new ways to share the aviation industry with students. Over the past 18 months, with the help of a workforce development grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), a collaboration of University of North Dakota Aerospace, the NDAC, and the North Dakota Aviation Association we have been sharing the industry with teachers, through a variety of professional development opportunities. In early June, we were able to bring approximately 30 teachers to the Minneapolis, MN, area to showcase career opportunities that could be available to students at a national level.
We had a great cohort of teachers, from a variety of backgrounds and subject areas, including everything from kindergarten teachers to school counselors. I believe our goal of showing them the opportunities they never knew existed was successful. The teachers learned a little about how the aviation industry functions, and a lot about the career opportunities in the industry.
Our experience included a visit to Alexandria, MN, airport to discuss opportunities at a General Aviation (GA) airport and included a tour of the airport and discussion with air medical pilots and flight nurses. Once in the Twin Cities, we visited Sun Country Airlines and Delta Air Lines. While a major topic of conversation (and tours) was centered around maintenance technicians, we learned about all of the jobs in the airline industry. We also brought the group to the St. Paul Downtown Airport and South St. Paul Airport to show some opportunities at other GA airports.
For many teachers, a highlight was our day touring the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP.) We learned about the many opportunities for an airport career, seeing firsthand the need for painters, electricians, plumbers, firefighters, biologists, caterers, equipment operators, and more. In addition, the operations crew at MSP brought our charter bus right out on the runway and allowed the group some time to watch airplanes and talk about what goes on to keep the airport functioning on a day-to-day basis.
Our goal was for these teachers to have knowledge of opportunities in the industry and share them with their students. We received feedback that there were many career fields in aviation that these teachers and counselors didn’t previously know were available. We hope many students will be exposed to the aviation industry through the educators’ experiences!