Friday, November 2, 2018

Airbus tech school in the works

POINT CLEAR, Ala. – Airbus is working towards creating a technical school of its own that would help provide it with the larger workforce it expects it will need with the ramp up of the A320 production line and the new A220 production line. The school was mentioned Thursday during the Aerospace Alliance Annual Summit in Point Clear. The summit, in its 10th year, is being held at the Grand Hotel. Neal Wade of the four-state Aerospace Alliance said in his opening remarks that surveys all point to education as a top critical need of the industry. Several speakers talked about the pressing need for workers, from pilots to mechanics. Stephanie Burt, director of Human Resources for the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility at the Mobile Aeroplex, said Airbus currently has 480 direct employees and will be hiring 400 to 500 workers for the new A220 assembly line and another 150 for the A320 line as production ramps up to meet customer demand. She said that at this point Airbus has enough qualified applicants, “but we know with 700 jobs that are going to saturate the market by us alone, we’re not going to be able to fill those jobs with the local population.” Airbus plans to create a technical school of its own, not to keep people away from four-year or two-year colleges, but to create more opportunities for the local and extended community who may not take the traditional college path. It would open next year. She said it’s not going to be a technical school in the traditional sense of a two-year college, but rather a place where someone who went to a two-year school could come and be assessed over a three- to five-week program to determine their skill level before being put in a position at the plant. Or, she said, “you come to us with nothing and in 12 weeks we have you capable to go out and do some OJT (on-the-job-training).” The summit continues Friday. (Source: Gulf Coast Reporters League, 11/01/18)