Constant Aviation Ramps Up Efforts To Recruit Qualified MRO Workforce

Credit: Constant Aviation

Business jet MRO provider Constant Aviation has launched a new workforce partnership aimed at meeting growing demand for its services.

Through its partnership with Western Technical College in El Paso, Texas, students will be able to transition directly from the school to Constant Aviation’s workforce.

Constant Aviation, which has aircraft-on-ground (AOG) teams in 26 cities across the U.S., linked up with Western Tech through mutual affiliation with the National Hot Rod Association. According to Kent Stauffer, Constant Aviation’s vice president of quality, safety and training, Western Tech’s associate degree programs in aerospace and defense technology and in electronics engineering technology fit well with its workforce needs.

“Our curriculum fits seamlessly with the industry’s expectations for future generations of aviation technicians, preparing students so they immediately can transition into the field using the knowledge they’ve just developed,” says Western Tech CEO Brad Kuykendall. “It’s a remarkably small commitment for the dividends that are paid.”

Students will have the option of following two career paths at Constant Aviation upon graduation from Western Tech. In the airframe/powerplant certificate track, graduates will roll into an advanced apprenticeship where they will work on the floor immediately with mentors and receive 18 months of on-the-job training to comply with FAA requirements for the airframe certificate test. Graduates can also enter the repairer or non-certificated track, where they can enter directly into one of Constant Aviation’s skilled labor areas that do not require certification, such as wire harness, sheet metal, composite, landing gear, paint, machine shop and engineering.

Constant Aviation’s partnership with Western Tech will also involve future endeavors to supplement emerging technology initiatives, such as unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The MRO is a member of the Robotic Skies MRO network for commercial UAS repair and Stauffer says Constant Aviation and its sister companies are “very much involved in the emerging technologies arena with eVTOLs,” adding: “We are poised on the forefront of emerging technologies and plan on it being a niche for us.”

Initially, Stauffer says Constant Aviation plans to limit the new workforce program to below 20 graduates per year until it fully matures. “Our hope is that the ones who come through these tracks will be the ones who can serve as mentors in the future so the program becomes self-sustaining,” he says.

In addition to the new program, Constant Aviation is recruiting nationally and offering a range of apprenticeship programs designed to introduce talented young workers to the company. “Because there is a shortage of students coming out of Part 147 schools, we are focusing a great deal of effort and resources on alternate paths such as nontraditional partnerships,” says Stauffer. “We are far down the path of building more of these relationships and are actively in the middle of several that include trade schools, an aviation high school and a prominent four-year college. We are so committed to this effort that we have hired a full-time workforce development manager whose sole purpose is to develop a workforce that doesn’t exist today.”

Constant Aviation expanded its nationwide AOG mobile response network by more than 15% in 2021, so it is actively recruiting for positions in areas such as maintenance, avionics, paint and wire harness, with many positions offering $2,000 signing bonuses.

“The hard truth is that there are not enough licensed and experienced technicians in the world today, nor are there enough [aviation maintenance technicians] coming out of Part 147 schools,” stresses Stauffer. “The only way to attract people to the field is by providing what they seek in a career, mentoring them and preparing them for a long career.”

Lindsay Bjerregaard

Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.