The first graduates of the new FlightPath9 training program have joined the Airbus workforce in Mobile.
Airbus is a major supporter of the program, which was developed by the nonprofit Flight Works Alabama, the state, the Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment, plus local business and educational institutions.
Designed as a nine-month program for high school seniors, COVID-19 forced the program from in-class to on-line instruction and stretched it to nearly double its intended length.
“FlightPath9 students learned everything from safety regulations to critical thinking skills, teamwork to time management, and hands-on training with specialized aircraft-manufacturing tools,” Airbus said in a news release. “After completing FlightPath9, students gained additional training in the Airbus Fast Track program, a gateway to an aerospace career without a college degree or prior experience.”
Sydney Raine, president of Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment, said, “FlightPath9 is a prime example of how local workers can gain valuable training. That’s one reason our organization decided to sign on as a partner in the effort.
“Our goal is to invest in programs that produce high-wage and high-growth job opportunities. In creating this program, Airbus shows the commitment to training talent regionally. It’s refreshing that our youth have an opportunity to have a promising career locally,” said Raine.
“The thing that amazed me most was the students’ ability to remain focused despite the endless distractions — all while attending to their normal high school classes and extracurricular activities,” said Jeff Rensink, an instructor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which partners with Flight Works Alabama to produce FlightPath9.
New program graduates were pleased with the program, too.
“FlightPath9 changed my life by giving me a great opportunity to come right out of high school (to Airbus). Words cannot explain my gratitude for being in the first class of FP9,” said program graduate Yuriy Greenlay.
Graduate Torian Kidd added, “FlightPath9 changed things because now I know I have a long-term goal and future.”