What are the chances if you take 600 students to the Bell Helicopter Fort Worth Alliance Air Show this weekend, most if not all of them will be very interested? Very high, it’s a safe bet.
And what are chances it could spark interest in many of them to pursue careers in aviation fields? Pretty high, again.
And what are the chances that aviation industry employers in North Texas will be interested in hiring them once they complete education or training in their chosen field? Not guaranteed, but given the way aviation businesses have grown here, pretty high.
Texas averages more than 2,500 job openings in the aviation sector each year, air show organizers say. North Texas has more than 300 aviation sector employers, the highest concentration in the state.
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The industry must continue to recruit an interested and trained labor force.
Helping to supply that need is the idea behind new partnerships the air show, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, has formed with the Fort Worth, Northwest and Birdville school districts.
The districts have been invited to bring 600 students to a preview of the show on Friday. The show itself is Saturday and Sunday at Alliance Airport.
The event regularly draws tens of thousands of visitors.
The Northwest district opened its V.R. Eaton High School this year, with plans to launch an aviation program there. Fort Worth ISD has an aviation program at Dunbar High School.
Besides attending Friday’s preview, students will be participating in the Bell STEM Challenge on science, technology, engineering and math topics.
Members of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, this year’s featured performers at the show, are scheduled to visit Dunbar.
The F22 Raptor Demo Team will visit Birdville’s Richland High School, and other Birdville students will visit the Tarrant County College Center for Excellence in Aviation, Transportation and Logistics.
As the air show’s organizers point out, it’s more than entertainment — it’s education.