The School District of Palm Beach County and Palm Beach International Airport are partnering to introduce students to a wide range of career opportunities in the aviation field.
WPTV spoke to students and businesses eager to see the next wave of industry leaders take off.
This year’s Careers in Aviation Day was held Wednesday, taking students from Suncoast, Boynton Beach and Atlantic high schools out of the classroom and into the cockpits of their future.
“If you can think of a career title, that career exists in aviation at Gulfstream,” April Morina, the regional vice president of service center operations for Gulfstream, said. “We continue to experience strong demand, both at the facility in Palm Beach and worldwide, so we’re continuing to hire a skilled workforce including mechanics.”
It wasn’t your average field trip, and school staff said this crop of future leaders is anything but average.
“This is an opportunity for schools and students to take this opportunity and see how it is to take it into the real world,” Dr. Scott Mitchell of Boynton Beach High School said.
A lot of the students who attended the event are looking to solidify a path they’ve already started carving out. Jameson Loper, 16, a student at Boynton Beach High School, has already logged 250 hours of flying experience.
“Wonderful, I mean I can’t really describe it,” Loper said. “I love being here seeing all the planes.”
It’s providing real opportunities for talented students.
“I’d like to be an Air Force Pilot in fighter jets but after that definitely commercial,” Nicole Ward, a senior at Suncoast High School, said.
According to Indeed and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, pilot employment is expected to grow by 13% between 2020 and 2030. About 14,700 openings for airline and commercial pilots are projected each year through 2030.
The shortage has been largely created by a huge number of pilots planning to retire, meaning a lot of eyes are now on the younger generation.
Whether you’re cruising the skies in a luxury private jet, operating a Florida Power & Light drone or taking off in a sheriff’s office helicopter, the point of the event is to let the kids know they have options.
It’s a lot to take in but the students said it’s also a lot to look forward to.
“I would say like today I’ve learned that it’s so much easier to take that next step to go onto aviation, and to become this person who’s been here for decades he knows like everything about planes,” Manoah Calixte of Atlantic High School
Students are standing by for their careers to take off.