Airbus is known globally for its technological contributions to the aviation industry.
Over the past few years, however, the company has begun contributing in a way that may help shape the company’s future.
Michelle Hurdle, the company’s director of Workforce and Economic Development, discussed Airbus’ influence in education, particularly in the Mobile area.
“In this area we have several school systems, in addition we have private schools, Catholic schools, homeschool programs, and we partner with all of them to some extent,” said Hurdle. “So, we do have ‘Airbus goes to school’ where our employees can go out and speak to classes.
“We participate in local career fairs, not just in the high schools, but in the middle and local schools.”
Hurdle touted the partnership between Alabama and the company along with the fruits of the partnership – the Alabama Aviation Education Center.
“Specifically, what we’ve done lately is in 2020 Airbus along with the state of Alabama opened Flight Works Alabama, the Alabama Aviation Education Center,” she said. “Not only does it include multi-purpose rooms, learning areas, workshops where we do 3D printing and sublimation, but it has an exhibit gallery with over 40 hands-on experiences or exhibits where students can learn about the design of an aircraft, the forces of flight, and we have a digital wind tunnel that can fly a simulator.”
Not only does the center include high tech educational opportunities, it also shows the students technical skills, she said.
“Then it gets into the manufacturing part of it,” Hurdle said. “So, how to rivet; how we paint aircraft, because that brings in the art into the manufacturing electrical programs.
“So they see all aspects from cradle to grave, from the design to the fly-away.”
Hurdle also pointed out there are many jobs within the aviation industry other than pilots and engineers.
“We want to make sure students, teachers, and parents know that engineers are in the aviation industry, pilots are in the aviation industry,” she said. “And that there are hundreds of other jobs that you can do to be in this very cool industry.”
Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.
Don’t miss out! Subscribe today to have Alabama’s leading headlines delivered to your inbox.