Fort Worth public school students got a close look at a Bell 407 helicopter that landed at Dunbar High School Wednesday. The dramatic entrance of officials from Bell Helicopter, Tarrant County College and the Fort Worth ISD was followed by a presentation to students about a new training program that will prepare them for careers in aviation and engineering.
Elementary, middle- and high school students were joined by community members to learn about the collaborative effort to provide advanced aviation and engineering training for students at Dunbar High School. TCC is expanding its partnerships with Bell Helicopter and FWISD to make the training possible.
“TCC is constantly seeking ways to launch new opportunities that allow us to work with Bell Helicopter and Fort Worth ISD so we can continue to play a key role in preparing a workforce to power our local economy,” said TCC’s Troy Vaughn, associate vice chancellor for Continuing Education Services. “It is our hope that many of the students will continue their higher education at TCC as they prepare to take their place in the workforce or to continue their studies at a four-year institution.”
Bell Helicopter, FWISD and TCC are working together to develop and implement a rigorous curriculum for aviation and engineering programs, offering students industry certification and dual credit.
“This collaboration will provide real-time instruction to our students. The expertise of the aviation professionals writing this curriculum is state-of-the-art. You couldn’t ask for anything better,” said FWISD Superintendent Walter Dansby. “It’s a partnership that is unique in the state of Texas, if not the entire nation. It is unique because students actually take aviation classes while in 9th and 10th grades. In 11th and 12th grades, students take dual credit classes at TCC Northwest Campus, which is the second in the nation for aviation certification.”
Tailored training to meet current and future industry needs will be incorporated into existing aerospace and engineering courses and the curriculum will emphasize building skills in key areas, including computerized numerical controlled (CNC) machining and advanced composite bonding. The program allows students to complete their training in 18 to 24 months and includes a senior project that will help determine if the student will be recruited by Bell Helicopter and other companies in the aviation industry at the end of the course.
“We will provide the opportunity,” Bell Helicopter Technical Training Manager Tom Knight told students. “The one to really make this happen is you.”
Currently, the 2013 9th and 10th grade classes at Dunbar High are experiencing the new curriculum for the first time. A separate team of curriculum developers consisting of Fort Worth Dunbar High School faculty members, TCC technical trade skill instructors, FWISD Career and Technical Education coordinators and Bell Helicopter technical training specialists are working together to incorporate specific industry production and manufacturing requirements, techniques and practical applications skills into tracts that will best position graduates to qualify to participate in the TCC Advanced Composite and CNC Machining programs.
The TCC programs will then provide them with the higher skills and knowledge that will qualify them for employment in the aviation industry. The proposals for the programs will be submitted to the Texas Workforce Commission for state recognition and certification by 2015.
Learn more about the new aviation and engineering opportunities in the FWISD Communications Department video news story.