Program helps students get off the ground toward a career

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 09:52 PM.

Student Candace Guthrie, of Beaufort, was down the long line of airplanes working to remove an alternator from the engine of a Cessna 150.

"I was laid off from the school system and I applied for the program and got accepted and went that following fall," Guthrie said.

She used to be a teacher assistant and school bus driver and wants to use her two-year associates degree to get a job at Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point or at Spirit Aerosystems in Kinston. She has no prior experience with airplanes.

"It’s just exciting to do something completely different. I have my first degree in computers so I was clerical mainly in a lot of offices. I’ve been the one to fix the copier, fix the printer or work on stuff in the office," she said. "I love to do stuff hands on, so this has been amazing. I enjoy coming to school every day and getting my hands dirty."

Student Pat Kirk, of Morehead City, worked in aviation while in the Marine Corps and now wants to use that knowledge to get his FAA certification.

"It’s a good jumping off point for a really fun career," he said. "There’s a lot of good careers in aviation. Not every person is going to be a pilot. I kind of pattern it after the military where there are seven people that support each combat person. The same thing kind of applies in the aircraft business. You have mechanics, you have air traffic controllers, you have all sorts of other careers, this being one of them."

Kirk, who was a Marine in the 1960s, said the program was good for veterans looking to build on their military experience, and it has also helped him with his hobby of flying.

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