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July 28, 2008

Comments

Gary B

Please ask around and find out what you can about the EAA/FAA junior A&P program

Wish I was there to ask for myself, but...

Brian Finnegan

Thanks for the request, Gary.

The so-called Junior A&P, (and I have heard others say, as well) is part of an industry wide effort to attract young people into aviation maintenance. This effort began with Jim Ballough's (FAA AFS-1) initiative called the Future of the Aviation Maintenance Technician Summit that began about 3 years ago.

Now, EAA has really stepped up with its KidVenture initiative here at the Oshkosh AirVenture. It has some draw backs in that it is not well-funded and volunteers are hard to come by. However, FAA is all in with its Aviaion Education group out of the NE Region sending staff lead by Julie Seltsam and Tony Janco (and others) and industry has jumped in with Denise Waters (AWAM President) leading the charge and gaining support from Ric Peri (AEA) Stan Mackiewicz (NATA), Embry-Riddle, AMT Society, PAMA, and the SAE Institute.

The next decision is how to integrate this program with actualy bringing these middle schoolers along and integrating them into our profession. Personally, I think we could easily dovetail this initiative into Build-a-Plane and our SAE Institute certification program.

Getting people into the industry and beginning work is perhaps more important than having them get all their education first. With focused training modules and specialty certifications that could lead to or augment an A&P, we can keep our workforce productive at affordable levels while providinig structure to advance professionally and personally.

There is a Young Eagles meeting today at which we'll be discussing how maintenance and flying careers can blossom independently, but without losing contact with one another...after all, they are not mutually exclusive carer paths, by any means!

More later. Stay Strong!

Brian

Jim White

It was good to see you at Oshkosh. Thanks for the invite to Wed. evenings activities, enjoyed them very much.

I appreciate the comments regarding the shortage of volunteers at Kidventure. (Always an issue). But, Kidventure continues to evolve and improve and is slowly building a stronger aircraft maintenance specific program for kids to explore. As you know, I have volunteered for the riveting event since its inception 3 years ago and worked there everyday this year.

I look forward to SAE/PAMA input to help improve the experience for all the kids we see at Kidventure.

As for the indivduals and organizations that you mentioned as major proponents of this effort, they may be involved in discussions in the background and helping to generate ideas during the year leading up to Airventure, but they are not present nor are they providing support with personnel nor funding that I can see. The greatest support I can see has come from Vans Aircraft, Avery Tools and Aircraft Spruce and Speciality. I look forward to AEA providing much greater support for EAA's effort to develop activities that impress and stimulate the interest in electrical and electronic components and systems. The volunteers have made an important beginning but need help in growing the event to achieve its full potential.

I had a great time at Oshkosh and I already look forward to going back next year!

Jim White,
Deputy Supervisor Kidventure

Brian Finnegan

Thanks for your post, Jim. Your efforts are exemplary and I hope you will engage with the readership here and through PAMA's members to solicit more individual volunteers and corporate support. I did meet with the KidVenture organizing committee while I was there and the real mission of KidVenture's maintenance focus is still formulating.

EAA is to be commended for their great effort and, for all intents and purposes, KidVenture is the best effort going along these lines. But EAA is conflicted because, in the view of many, it is a primarily pilot oragnization. However its roots and DNA are as a bulider's organization and builders are mechanics. Some pilots are builders. The big push at EAA right now is defining how little can a builder actually build and still be considered "majority" or 51 percent.

EAA has done a great job with Young Eagles - a pilot intro program, and they are stepping up to facilitate a similar effort with technicians. I think we maintenance professionals should offer to participate in their forum, provide maintenance leadership, and leverage their passion and good will to advance aviation maintenance and attracting new technicians. From what I heard in Oshkosh, that is what they are willing to do.

Please stay in touch and let's work togehter to advance our profession.

Brian

Jim White

Thanks Brian, I agree with you that we can provide leadership and guidance and I believe EAA will listen and respond favorably. I am looking forward to continuing to build on and improve the mainenance side of the KidVenture experience. I too see the leadership of KidVenture doing their best to provide an experience that is fun with a capital F U N! and a sneeky learning experience as well.

KidVenture needs sponsors to step up and help provide the activities on the maintenance side of the isle and the leadership of VAN's Aircraft, Avery Tools and Aircraft Spruce and Specialty can be used as an example for other business leaders to follow.

I will do everything I can to ensure the kids have a positive, FUN, exciting, rewarding experience as a volunteer.

Keep up the good work Brian.

I will try to remain engaged

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