CHS stu­dents to learn about avi­a­tion ca­reers

Woonsocket Call - - BLACKSTONE VALLEY -

SMITH­FIELD — Kids grow­ing up of­ten want to be­come po­lice of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers, doc­tors, pro­fes­sional ath­letes or celebri­ties. The odds of them achiev­ing those goals are far-reach­ing at best and nearly im­pos­si­ble in oth­ers. They would need a lot of tal­ent and a little bit of luck to make some­thing hap­pen.

That door of op­por­tu­nity re­cently opened up for one such group.

A group of sev­eral Cum­ber­land

High School stu­dents is tak­ing a field trip to North Cen­tral State Air­port on Wed­nes­day, May 30, to learn about the avi­a­tion in­dus­try. This trip in­cludes demon­stra­tions, hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties and other dis­cus­sions to get the group to con­sider the field upon grad­u­a­tion.

Lo­cal busi­ness­man David Bel­lenoit, who cited his mem­ber­ship with the North­ern Rhode Is­land Cham­ber of Com­merce for spear­head­ing this event, said the pro­fes­sion might not be the first thing stu­dents think about when they choose a job. The pur­pose of this ex­cur­sion would be get­ting them to open their minds to this idea.

“Avi­a­tion is an in-de­mand, (one of the na­tion’s largest em­ploy­ing in­dus­tries), lu­cra­tive (not just for pi­lots, but for en­gi­neers, gov­ern­ment agency work­ers and air­port per­son­nel) ca­reer field that yields fan­tas­tic re­wards and a great qual­ity of life,” said Bel­lenoit.

“An his­toric num­ber of to­day’s top pi­lots and en­gi­neers are soon com­ing to re­tire­ment age. The FAA and NASA have rec­og­nized this and are ac­tively get­ting the mes­sage out to kids in­ter­ested in STEM (Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy, En­gi­neer­ing and Math­e­mat­ics) fields that the path to ad­vance­ment in this field is get­ting faster each year.”

At the air­port event, Doug Au­clair of AirVen­tures RI will take the group on a tour of the fa­cil­ity, ex­plain some of the ca­reer op­tions that are open to them and an­swer any ques­tions. The stu­dents will also have a chance to see one of the air­planes and have a chance to see the in­ner work­ings of an air­plane, he noted.

Au­clair said hav­ing the stu­dents there, even for a few hours, can im­pact their ca­reer.

“Our hope is get­ting Rhode Is­land kids in­tro­duced to the scope and va­ri­ety of avi­a­tion ca­reers out there and how Rhode Is­land’s Gen­eral Avi­a­tion (GA) com­mu­nity with its nine GA air­ports can help Rhode Is­land kids achieve their dreams,” Au­clair said.

“Our day for the kids vis­it­ing the North Cen­tral Air­port is just one small step in that di­rec­tion. We’re open­ing up the hangars so the kids can talk di­rectly with peo­ple who are in the busi­ness of avi­a­tion, touch planes, and hope­fully ig­nite that spark.”

The ef­forts of the North­ern Rhode Is­land Cham­ber of Com­merce helped pro­vide di­rec­tion to get­ting this idea go­ing. Cham­ber Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent Paul Ouel­lette said the area’s econ­omy could be helped with the ad­di­tion of new jobs and lo­cal peo­ple fill­ing them. With the cham­ber’s in­flu­ence and con­tacts in the area, he said, the prospect of show­ing stu­dents what is out there can open their eyes to what they can do.

“We are try­ing to get young peo­ple ready to be­come future mem­bers of the work­force, and do­ing some­thing like this can be a way to achiev­ing that,” said Ouel­lette. “The cham­ber ap­plauds lo­cal com­pa­nies that reach out to stu­dents to demon­strate that there is a world of jobs out there that they might not oth­er­wise know about.”

With the avi­a­tion in­dus­try in flux, Bel­lenoit thinks the time is right for some new blood to en­ter the in­dus­try.

“This is an op­por­tu­nity to any Rhode Is­land kid who has ever dreamed of ei­ther fly­ing planes around the world, work on jet en­gines, or even de­sign to­mor­row’s space­craft or modes of air travel,” he said. “Achiev­ing that dream is not be­yond their reach. The FAA, NASA and the EAA (Ex­per­i­men­tal Air­craft As­so­ci­a­tion) and oth­ers of­fer schol­ar­ships and grants that can help make their dream a re­al­ity.”

Paul Ouel­lette

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