Aviation job training will soon be offered at Wichita schools, if approved by the state.  

The plan called Aviation Pathway was unveiled by Wichita Public Schools, WSU Tech, and Textron Aviation. 

It is designed to give students the technical training and certification so they can be hired right after graduation. 

It would start in the ninth grade with specialized course work. By time the students reach senior level, they will have hands-on experience at aviation companies. 

“So it just brings the spotlight to an industry that is a little over 30 percent of the state’s economy so we can start continuing to strengthen that pipeline of students going into the workforce,” said Andy McFayden, WSU Tech, Marketing and Community Outreach.

Wichita Superintendent Dr. Alicia Thompson said listening sessions held across the district revealed that parents and students want options to better prepare kids that don’t go to college. 

“”What is it that we want those kids to be able to do?” said Thompson. “We began to look at what the community needed and aviation was one.”

Thompson says the program will help meet the goals from the Kansas Board of Education to help more students graduate high school with job certification or college credit.

“The concept of being able to provide kids an opportunity to get some hands-on experiences in pathway that would lead to certification for job preparation, we were interested in that,” said Thompson.  

“We’ve had conversations for a long time about what do we need to do to expose our K-12 students to go to our great industry and it’s a great step forward in offering our high school students and opportunity to learn more about our industry and lead a potential career in our industry,” said Jim Walters, Textron Sr. VP of Human Resources & Communications.

The Kansas State Board of Education must first sign off on the program.

If that’s done, Aviation Pathway would be offered in the fall at North, Northwest, Southeast and West High schools.