Ramping Up Efforts to Meet Future Workforce Needs

Ramping Up Efforts to Meet Future Workforce Needs
August 17, 2022 Jerry Vallely
St. Louis Downtown Airport

As it expands its operations at St. Louis Downtown Airport, Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. is launching a series of workforce development initiatives to add employees in the St. Louis region. Opportunities will be available in the areas of cabinet makers and finishers, upholsterers, painters, aircraft technicians, avionics technicians, manufacturing engineers, operations engineers, certification inspectors and additional support functions. The diversity of positions and knowledge that Gulfstream needs to continue to fill those jobs in the years to come has Gulfstream taking a three-pronged approach to workforce development in the area.

The first opportunity is a trainee program for those looking to change career paths or those who have come out of the military and have some but not all the experience for an entry level technician position. To best transfer a trainee’s skills, Gulfstream has an on-the-job training program to ensure effective transitions for participants to advance from trainees to entry-level technicians. It is actively seeking trainees for the team.

“We have created training programs for trainees to practice on and gain practical skills to become proficient at building necessary skills. Our goal is to be the bridge as we help merge employees’ existing experience to careers in aircraft maintenance,” said Murtaza Hassan, general manager of the St. Louis Gulfstream Service Center. “Depending on how quickly the trainee can transition experience over, they may be able to bridge into an entry-level technician position from the trainee position as soon as one year and no more than two years.”

For those currently enrolled in an aviation program and working towards a certificate of aircraft and powerplant (A&P) license or something similar, Gulfstream has a new internship program with local technical colleges, universities and communities. The A&P licenses are the two Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates required to become an aviation maintenance technician. This internship program will allow those learning about the field to gain hands-on experience in the area of expertise they are interested in. Part-time and full-time technician positions are available for those already enrolled in an A&P program.

With an eye on developing the future generation of workers, Gulfstream has established a youth apprenticeship program at the St. Louis Downtown Airport location, partnering with East St. Louis, Belleville and Cahokia High Schools, with plans to continue to expand this program to other local high schools. This competitive opportunity allows students to learn about the foundation of aviation trades. Gulfstream has selected several high school students interested in the field to work a minimum of 15 hours a week this summer.

Sydney Stigge-Kaufman is Executive Director of Communications and Strategic Partnerships for East St. Louis School District 189. She says this new partnership with Gulfstream is different from collaborations they have with other regional employers.

“What Gulfstream is offering is really special in breadth and depth. Students are going to have exposure to various departments and a variety of disciplines; that’s really the breadth part,” Stigge-Kaufman said. “But it’s going in-depth also because young apprentices are going to be on-site for many weeks during the summer.”

She adds that the partnerships with companies like Gulfstream are game-changers for students and alumni. “It can potentially be life-changing. When kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up, they give pretty typical responses: I want to be a teacher. I want to be a doctor or a nurse. I want to be a music star or an NBA player. These are the professions they have been exposed to,” she said. “Exposure really matters. To be on-site, walking through various departments and disciplines to see them firsthand, then having engaging conversations with existing Gulfstream staff members – this can be so pivotal for young adults because they can realize, ’This can be my future too.’”

“We create these programs to build our own pipeline and develop a highly skilled workforce,” Hassan said.

More information on Gulfstream careers can be found at www.careers.gulfstream.com.