RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio — From pilots to contractors, workforce shortages continue to plague airlines and travel.
Gov. Mike DeWine toured Richmond Heights Secondary School to learn about the its aviation career exploration program, which launched this year for students in the 7th through 12th grade.
“It’s something I never thought would happen,” 10th grader Mason Powell-Hawkins said. “I have a way to reach my goal in life.”
This program exposes students to all sorts of careers in the industry including airplane mechanic, air traffic controller, aircraft designer or even pilot.
“It’s that coming together of professionals and business with education,” DeWine said.
Along with a manufacturing program, this aviation education program comes thanks to the state’s Expanding Opportunities Grant.
Typically being located along a flight path is seen as a negative. But as teacher John Merritt explained, having Cuyahoga County Airport next door is an opportunity for a new program to take off.
“We have a significant partnership with some of the people at the airport and it’s our hope we will be able to have the students work at some of the general aviation facilities over there,” he said.
Creating a runway for these students to succeed in an industry where school leaders said minorities are typically underrepresented.
“It gives them an opportunity to take advantage and move upwards,” Merritt added. “I left the military and had over 1200 hours and I wasn't able to get a job. In fact they offered me a job loading baggage.”