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DSN Promotes Aviation Partnership at Victor Valley College

Lisa Kiplinger-Kennedy, Business & Entrepreneurship Deputy Sector Navigator in the Inland Empire/Desert Region, played an integral role in facilitating a partnership between the Victor Valley College and a large aviation employer in the San Diego region.

At a Transportation and Aviation advisory meeting, Kiplinger-Kennedy heard about 646 vacancies at General Atomics, a Department of Defense contractor in San Diego. She reached out to colleagues at Barstow College and General Atomics to discuss how the community colleges could help fill this skills gap.

“I asked what training they were specifically looking for and was told Avionics was their biggest skills need,” Kiplinger-Kennedy said. “They also stressed what a huge task it is for them to find qualified candidates for positions at the company.”

Those meetings led to a $692,000 grant for Victor Valley College from the California Community College Chancellor’s Office and a partnership with General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. The funds will be used to support an Electronics Technician Apprenticeship Program (ETAP), which will provide valuable career training and skills required for employment opportunities in an in-demand and fast growing industry sector.

“We decided the best way to retain talent was to grow our own talent pipeline. Forecasts show the needs for aviation maintenance technicians will exceed the supply of trained personnel beginning in 2021,” said Steve Muir, Director of Field Avionics, GA-ASI. “The California Apprenticeship Initiative (CAI) grant was exactly what we needed to offer local residents a skill they can take with them anywhere.”

Apprentices in the program are paid full-time competitive wages and offered a comprehensive benefits package. In addition, they will earn 20 college credits and two certificates through Victor Valley College.  In order to qualify for the program, candidates must also be able to obtain a Department of Defense security clearance.

Read the full press release here.

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