As the aviation industry continues to address the challenges of an impending mechanic’s shortage, companies have begun developing ways to recruit students earlier in their programs. While many partnerships boast offers extended 6-months to a year before graduation, regional airline and PIA partner Piedmont Airlines has taken it one step further – recruiting their talent before they have started classes.
The first ten students inducted into the Piedmont Technician Tuition Program started classes at PIA Myrtle Beach and Hagerstown in the Fall of 2021, marking one of the largest efforts of an organization to recruit dedicated technicians early.
“The Piedmont Tuition Payment Program is an amazing opportunity that helps remove financial barriers for those interested in the aviation maintenance field. The program sets each candidate up for success by funding their studies and certification fees as well as providing them with a career after completion,” says Jessica Weney, Senior Recruiter Maintenance Tech Ops for Piedmont Airlines.
Up to five students can be chosen per term at participating locations and can be offered the opportunity to join the program after their application is reviewed. Piedmont will offer the selected students a conditional offer of employment for two years upon their graduation from the program at their location. Students who fulfill the requirements of the program entirely will only be responsible for payment of their books and living expenses while attending school.
“It’s a great opportunity for a student to be able to defer the costs associated with their education and know that they are going to have a career after they graduate,” says Bernard (Butch) Adams, Campus Director of PIA Hagerstown. “They are able to see their prize at the end of their 16-months here and they can immediately start making a difference in the world of aviation.”
Nathaniel Whims was one of the students selected to participate in the program. “As the next generation of AMT’s, the future of the industry is in our hands and we are grateful to have such an opportunity entrusted to us,” says Whims. “We feel supported and encouraged and aspire to be preeminent students for ourselves and the best of the industry.”