Textron Aviation, WSU, IAM Form Apprenticeship Program

 - March 11, 2020, 8:57 AM
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (center-right) visits Textron Aviation to celebrate a new two-year apprenticeship program with the IAM and WSU Tech to develop tooling expertise. (Photo: Textron Aviation)

Textron Aviation has teamed up with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and WSU Tech to develop a collaborative apprenticeship program that is designed to ensure a long-term flow of skilled production tooling specialists.

The first of its kind in the region, the two-year apprenticeship program encompasses both factory and classroom training to develop a range of skills involved with the design, build, and maintenance of production tooling, including everything from specialized hand-held tools to large jig assemblies that support aircraft parts and assemblies. Under the program, participants typically will train at WSU Tech for two days, while spending three days with assigned mentors at Textron Aviation facilities in South Central Kansas.

While participating in the program, apprentices will receive salary and benefits from Textron Aviation, as well as related tuition and fees at WSU Tech. Upon completion of the program, participants will earn a tooling associate of applied sciences degree from WSU Tech and become full-time Textron Aviation employees. Employees further have the option of tapping into Textron Aviation’s tuition reimbursement program to work toward a bachelor’s degree. The initial class will involve 15 students.

“Through the new apprenticeship program with WSU Tech, our students will get the benefit of an advanced curriculum designed specifically for this program, as well as learn on the job from our highly skilled tradespeople,” said Maggie Topping, senior v-p of HR and communications at Textron Aviation.

“This program is another example of the innovation and disciplined business practices of the people of Kansas that have made us a global aerospace leader,” said Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, who visited the manufacturer for Tuesday’s announcement. “This kind of partnership is exactly the formula that helps attract talented people to work and live in Kansas.”