Community-based initiative picking up speed after six months
The Joint Institute of Engineering and Technology-Aerospace (JiET-A) has announced that it has received more than 100 applicants in growing the region’s aerospace talent pipeline.
Driven by the Rockford Area Aerospace Network (RAAN), JiET-A formed in 2010 to gain more high-paying jobs and increase business opportunities for aerospace suppliers in the area. The program offers unique opportunities for students through the combination of academic studies and real-work experience with leading aerospace companies.
Its numbers after hitting a half-year mark since starting to attract students last September:
- 107 student applications
- 48 students accepted into JiET-A program
- 20 student internships at local companies through JiET-A program
- Two students hired for full-time employment at local aerospace companies
JiET-A partner institutions include NIU, Rock Valley College, Rockford College and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Applicants that have been hired for the JiET-A program are currently interning at local companies such as B/E Aerospace, UTC Aerospace Systems and Woodward.
“We are extremely excited to reach such an important milestone, which speaks directly to level of interest we have in support of this community-based initiative,” said Bill Kroll, JiET-A executive director. “The program has really taken off and has allowed us to continue to grow our own pipeline of engineers in the region.”
“I am pleased that like several of our efforts in Rockford, JiET-A has also become successful. NIU-Rockford partnerships have proven to be critical in the areas of building engineering pipeline, innovation, economic development and job creation,” said Promod Vohra, dean of the NIU College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. “We at CEET-NIU are fully committed to the future success of JiEt-A and will provide our best services to fulfill all expectations associated with this program.”
One of the aerospace industry’s greatest needs is finding qualified talent during a national shortage of engineers, scientists and technicians while it forecasts more than 30,000 new airplanes to be delivered in the next 20 years.
The JiET-A program combines three components to significantly increase the pipeline: academics; real-word experience through internships, mentorships and scholarships; and employment by local aerospace companies.
“The JiET-A program aligns our communities’ educational institutions for the benefit of our aerospace companies,” said Eric Voyles, vice president of national business development for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. “The program develops interest in high school and then offers a combination of internships, mentorships and scholarships and widens the workforce pipeline for Rockford’s aerospace industry.”