AAR Receives $2.6 Million State Workforce Grant

 - February 1, 2023, 10:51 AM
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (center) celebrated a $2.6 million workforce grant to increase the mechanic pipeline at AAR's MRO in Rockford. (Photo: AAR)

The state of Illinois has awarded a $2.6 million grant to support workforce training, pipeline development, and apprenticeships at AAR’s MRO at Rockford International Airport. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the investment during an event at the MRO last week that also involved local officials, leaders from Rock Valley College, and AAR executives, along with those of its partners.

This latest award builds on recent state grants that AAR said have helped increase the number of its mechanics in Rockford from 85 in 2019 to 350 this year. Cumulatively, the state will have invested $5.2 million in the company’s mechanic pipeline in fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Investment has supported apprenticeships, advanced training, the hiring of training personnel, and partnerships with Rock Valley College and high schools throughout northern Illinois.

“Partnerships like this with companies like AAR model the best of private-public cooperation,” Pritzker said. “We’re opening up a new pathway for students across northern Illinois and giving them a concrete opportunity to pursue well-paying, trained jobs.”

AAR has expanded its workforce strategy to include high school aviation programs, an aviation sheet-metal course at Olive Harvey College in Chicago, an AAR Fellows Program in partnership with Rock Valley College and the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, and the development of an airframe and powerplant test prep course for current AAR employees.