High schoolers jump-start a career in flight with help from Polytechnic Indianapolis, others

Pendleton Heights High School sophomore Jaxton Bush climbs out of an aircraft while Ian Chastain waits, taken at the school's aviation day event. (Photo Credit: Richard Sitler for The Herald Bulletin)

The Herald Bulletin reports that around 100 students from Pendleton Heights High School (PHHS), just northeast of Indianapolis, explored the technical and career possibilities on offer at an aviation day event. This aviation day was put on by Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis, Vincennes University Indianapolis and the full-service aviation management company Jet Access.

In addition to providing school administrators the opportunity to gauge interest in a year-round aviation program, the students are also participating in a rising trend of youth populations looking for work-based, hands-on learning opportunities from novel sources.

Jaxton Bush sits in an airplane as he talks to Vincennes University Director of Aviation Michael Dennis Gehrich. (Photo Credit: Richard Sitler for The Herald Bulletin)

Rather than solely looking to the traditional path of a four-year education, PHHS students like Seth Easterday indicated that they are “keeping [their] options open.”

Corey Sharp, Purdue Polytechnic’s statewide partnerships director, explained that students looking to enter the workforce in a maintenance-heavy, technical field such as aviation may be a blessing to the industry in the coming years: “Right now, there’s roughly about 8,000 pilot openings and about 15,000 maintenance openings. At any given point in time, there are about 750 planes that are grounded because there [aren’t] enough maintenance technicians. We’re here to help share why a student may want to consider aviation as a career.”

Alongside other resources, Purdue Polytechnic Indianapolis provided a virtual reality, fully-immersive flight simulator for students to test their skills on. With the assistance of partners at Vincennes University Indianapolis and Jet Access, the PHHS students were able to spend the day not just in the simulator, but climbing into a real aircraft and speaking with industry representatives as well.

See the full story at The Herald Bulletin.

Additional Information