Students in the Davenport Community School District have a unique opportunity to learn aircraft maintenance in a hands-on, real world environment, thanks to a first in the nation partnership between Elliott Aviation and Davenport Central High School’s Iowa Jobs for America’s Graduates (iJAG) Program. Participants will learn and practice inspecting airplanes for defects, fabricating parts, and assessing electronics, all under the supervision of Elliott Aviation’s certified employees.

“It’ll be an incredible experience for our students and be examples for other districts,” DCSD Career and Technical Education Director Alli Vandermyde said.

The first round of apprenticeships is expected to start this summer, with teachers and staff identifying two to three students who would be good prospects for the program and inviting them to participate. Students can also complete three courses for high school credit to complement their work in the field. Vandermyde said the DCSD and Elliott Aviation worked with the Iowa Department of Labor and the FAA to make this apprenticeship possible.

“The Davenport Community School District has an impressive iJAG program and a lot of talented students in specialized programs to learn career paths,” said Adrienne Wheeler, Vice President of Human Resources at Elliott Aviation. “The aviation industry has so many high-paying, skilled and technical career opportunities that the future workforce isn’t currently getting enough exposure to. 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.”

“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 President and 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 work force and the DOL apprentice program is the perfect way to do that.”

Expanding the Avionics CTE Program is a future goal for Wheeler and Vandermyde, with plans to add Service, Interior and Paint Technician apprentices.