Posts Tagged ‘aviation’

Help Wanted: Automotive and Aviation Technicians

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Automotive and aviation industries are major engines powering today’s economy. Here, we take a look at some of the opportunities available to automotive and aviation technicians in the state of South Carolina, the headquarters of numerous industry leaders.

South Carolina’s knowledge economy is based upon the synergistic automotive (BMW, Michelin, Honda, BOSCH) and aviation (Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, GE Aviation) industries, both of which have seen explosive growth over the past decade and both of which require similar technical skills. Most importantly, the automotive/aviation technician skill set is portable, so multiple career options for students are available.

Employment opportunities for both automotive and aviation technicians are expected to continue to grow most rapidly in the Southeastern United States, specifically in South Carolina. It’s estimated that the state currently needs 2,000 to 5,000 automotive technicians, and this figure is expected to increase as the number of vehicles and their complexity increase. (Projected growth for automotive technician occupations in S.C. is expected to be eight percent for the period 2008 to 2012.) Entry-level automotive technicians, with skills similar to a computer programmer, earn between $20,000 and $25,000 annually. Experienced technicians average between $35,000 and $50,000 annually, with specialists, such as transmission and drivability technicians, making substantially more.

The state is also an automotive manufacturing leader, with more than one in six employees working in 200 automotive-related companies. In fact, this industry accounts for the largest share of capital investment and jobs in the state, constituting 32.3 percent of all investment and 18.1 percent of jobs, or $3 billion capital investment and 11,000 automotive jobs created since 2000. This concentration of both original equipment manufacturers and suppliers makes S.C. a driving force behind the Southeast’s automotive industry: S.C. companies created 3,200 automotive industry jobs with a total of $4 million in capital investment in 2007, 2,400 automotive jobs in 2008, and $2.38 billion in 2009. Global demand for $13.9 billion in South Carolina-produced manufactured goods generates nearly 118,000 jobs, and one in three jobs in transportation equipment manufacturing are supported by exports.

Aviation/Aerospace Technology also has a prominent role in the S.C. economy with more than 100 aviation-related companies providing aviation maintenance, repair, aircraft modifications, and Dreamliner (Boeing 787) fuselage construction (current) and airliner assembly (2011). All of these industries will need additional workers to continue this expansion. Projected growth for aerospace technicians is also expected to be brisk. Aerospace jobs comprise 2.5% of all total jobs with an average wage of $41,621 annually.

You can learn about technical job opportunities in your own geographic region by visiting your local community college or exploring the ATETV website. Like the automotive and aviation technicians in the South Carolina area, you too can be in the driver’s seat!

Taking Flight

Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Glider in Silhouette by Matt Banks/

Glider in Silhouette by Matt Banks/

“I think a lot of gals just don’t understand aviation or are a little bit afraid of it,” Tina Thomas of Poplar Grove Airmotive told us in this week’s episode. “But if they get out and actually experience it, I think….they’ll learn how much fun it is and why all the guys are keeping it a little bit of a hidden secret.”

That got us wondering about other women who had pursued careers in the aviation field and led us to the website Women In Aviation International. There, we quickly learned that women across the country have been employed both in the skies and behind the scenes of the aviation industry – for nearly a century!

The WAI annual Pioneer Hall of Fame profiles some of aviation’s most successful women, including pilots, engineers and astronauts. Among the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees is Suzanna Darcy-Hennemann, who WAI tells us was the first woman to captain a 747-400, the first woman to captain a 777 and the first woman test pilot employed by Boeing in both production and experimental flight test. Today she is Boeing’s chief training pilot for almost 700 instructor pilots. You can hear her describe her aviation career here.

And then there’s 1994 WAI Hall of Fame inductee Mary Feik, who at age 84 travels the country as a lecturer for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) describing her 50-year career as an airplane master mechanic, discussing her more than 6,000 hours of flight time testing military aircraft to determine maintenance and safety requirements, and talking about her work restoring famous planes at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. You can read more about Mary’s long and exciting career here.

As these inspiring trailblazers are demonstrating, when it comes to careers in aviation for women, the sky really is the limit!