Purdue seeks industry support for program to increase diversity in aviation
The Purdue University College of Technology at Indianapolis is looking for industry partners for a new program designed to provide incentives for underrepresented students to pursue degrees in aviation management and technology.
Jon Aull, director of the Indianapolis location, says the SOAR program is being created to help address the lack of diversity in the aviation industry. It is set to officially launch in fall 2009.
"Aviation has historically been a Caucasian, male-dominated industry," he says. "As a result many women and underrepresented students may never have considered a career in this industry. The goal of SOAR is to reach out to highly qualified students who may not have ever considered a career in aviation and provide them with the academic, social, and financial support they might need."
Aull says students in the SOAR program will have a chance to earn a paycheck from one of the aviation industry partners while earning a degree. They also will have the opportunity to participate in tutoring, if needed, and can be assigned a mentor, preferably someone working in the aviation or logistics industry, to provide career and personal guidance.
"We want to target first-generation college students who want to gain experience in the field while earning money in the industry," he says. "Aviation needs good people and a wider pool of talent. Our program will focus on removing barriers to help students realize their potential and become successful."
Chance Aviation Services Inc., an Indianapolis-based distributor of aircraft components; Montgomery Aviation Inc., the fixed-based operator for the Indianapolis Executive Airport; Grissom Aeroplex; and Frankfort Municipal Airport have agreed to offer internships to some students in the SOAR program.
Aull says the program is seeking additional industry partners interested in providing part-time employment, internships, and scholarships for students. In addition, mentors are needed, as are tutors willing to work one-on-one with students.
He says an ideal mentor would be someone working in aviation or logistics who has at least five years of experience, some middle-management responsibility and is willing to meet with a student at least once a month through one year of the academic program.
He says the benefits for business partners in the program include having access to skilled and well-trained employees and helping strengthen ties to the community and state by providing jobs to local students. SOAR is offered only at the Indianapolis location.
Students interested in the program can contact Patti Blackburn, student services coordinator, at (317) 484-1824, email@example.com. Businesses interested in discussing a partnership or providing scholarships can contact Aull at (317) 484-1824, firstname.lastname@example.org.