The first graduating class of FlightPath9 has completed their course of study and entered the workforce at the Airbus U.S. Manufacturing Facility.
FlightPath9 is a workforce training program designed to provide high school seniors the skills and foundation needed for a career in aerospace.
The training program was created by Flight Works Alabama, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit education organization located at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley, along with partners from the State of Alabama, Southwest Alabama Partnership for Training and Employment, local businesses and education institutions.
FlightPath9 students learned everything from safety regulations to critical thinking skills, teamwork to time management, and hands-on training with specialized aircraft-manufacturing tools. 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.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey extended congratulations to the students, saying their graduation represents a historic moment for the region and the state.
“From the very beginning, the State of Alabama has been a partner with Airbus in creating economic growth and opportunity and now we have worked together to begin a long-term process of training our youth to become the business and manufacturing leaders of the future,” said Governor Ivey. “Many thanks to all who gave of their time and effort to get us to this historic milestone.”
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.
Originally designed to last over the school year, the first FlightPath9 class had to persevere for nearly twice that long when it became necessary to shift instruction online due to the Coronavirus pandemic. “The pandemic stretched a nine-month process into a year-and-a-half, and yet we stayed true to the program,” said graduate Joseph White.
“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.
Lynn Gane, a success coach for FlightPath9, witnessed the profound ways in which the program changed the students involved. “The most important thing I learned was you can change the trajectory of someone’s life by providing opportunity, guidance, and patience,” said Gane.
“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.”
In congratulating the graduates on behalf of Airbus, the U.S. Manufacturing Facility General Manager Daryl Taylor credited all involved with FlightPath9 on their ability to innovate and stay committed to the goal while overcoming adversity.
“I am extraordinarily proud of Team Mobile for creating the FlightPath9 program and seeing the inaugural class through to graduation,” said Taylor. “When presented with the unique challenges of a pandemic, the students, instructors, administrators, and sponsors of FlightPath9 met those challenges with remarkable grit and courage.”
Flight Works Alabama Director Michelle Hurdle believes the FlightPath9 program is a perfect fit for the organization.
“The mission of Flight Works Alabama is to design and create innovative educational programs with measurable outcomes,” said Hurdle. “The FlightPath9 program provided an avenue for students to master an array of skills while delivering an educational program to our community with clear and measurable results.”