Utah Aerospace Pathways Program takes flight

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Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced a program Friday to help Utah high school students qualify for jobs in the growing aerospace industry.

The Utah Aerospace Pathways program offers students the opportunity to train and certify in aerospace manufacturing while still in high school, through concurrent enrollment. There are many aerospace jobs in Utah that go unfilled because the workforce is not trained for them.

“Our aerospace sector is growing dramatically, but we don’t have enough labor to meet the demand,” Gov. Herbert said. “This program will make a positive difference to fill those gaps. It is an important investment in education and in Utah’s growing workforce.”

Students who enroll in the pathways program will graduate from high school with a certificate in aerospace manufacturing and will also be given the opportunity to complete a paid internship:

  • Semester 1: High school students will spend 60 hours studying for the certificate at their schools, and have the opportunity for a 48-hour paid internship with an aerospace partner.
  • Semester 2:  Students will complete another 48 hours of training at Salt Lake Community College and the Davis Applied Technology College.

Upon graduating from high school and earning a manufacturing certificate, students will be able to work for one of the aerospace program partners in a professional, entry-level position from which they can progress to even more advanced training and higher wages. In most cases, they will qualify for tuition reimbursement from their employers after one year, allowing them to go on to pursue post-secondary certificates and degrees.

The average salary for an individual working in the aerospace industry is approximately $68,000 plus benefits.

There are more than 100 private sector aerospace firms in Utah, employing approximately 20,000 people. Hill Air Force Base adds an additional 20,000 jobs.

The program was created by a unique partnership of state government, education leaders and the aerospace industry.

The Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership (UCAP) provided a $400,000 grant to develop a curriculum and program that would help align education with the requirements of the aerospace industry.

The Utah Aerospace Pathways program will be expanded in one year to also provide pathways into the industry for underemployed and unemployed Utahns in the workforce.

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