In April of 2017, Hallmark University’s College of Aeronautics was honored to host Congressman Lamar Smith, Representative from the 21st Congressional District of Texas. Congressman Smith serves as Chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee which has jurisdiction over the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
In attendance on behalf of Hallmark were Richard Fessler (Founder), Brent Fessler (University President), Joe Fisher (CEO), Jay Gregson (Provost), and Cecilio Rodriguez (Director of Hallmark College of Aeronautics). As the Hallmark team met with Congressman Smith, a variety of matters were discusses including Hallmark’s partnership with San Antonio’s North East Independent School District (NEISD) through the College Head start Institute (Aero CHI Program), Hallmark’s sponsorship funded Summer Intensive Program for middle and high school students, and the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) agenda.
Regarding the ATEC agenda, Gregson (board member and Legislative Committee Chair at ATEC), discussed some of the issues affecting aviation maintenance technician schools (AMTS) governed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) under Part 147 airframe and powerplant (A&P) technician programs. These issues included government funding for personnel in the field, access to training equipment, and regulatory requirements for AMTS schools.
The Hallmark team discussed the university’s involvement in supplying a future workforce in relation to a report released by the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation which showed that over 13,000 San Antonio employees work in the aerospace industry and that Boeing projects a worldwide need for 679,000 new AMT’s over the next 20 years. Congressman Smith learned that Hallmark is the number one producer of FAA licensed graduates (AMT’s) in Texas, a top 10 producer in the nation, and that 90% of Hallmark graduates are receiving employment within their field(s) of study within 90 days.
Furthermore, Hallmark representatives explained to Congressman Smith that the university is providing college education to high school students through summer intensive programs. Free of charge to students due to contributions provided by community sponsors, these summer intensives allow students to explore various learning pathways that lead to in-demand jobs. Industries covered in the summer intensives include aeronautics, business, healthcare, and cybersecurity.
The briefing concluded with Brent Fessler detailing the Aero CHI Program partnership between Hallmark and NEISD. Aero CHI is designed to prepare students for a career in aerospace maintenance technology (AMT). Upon successful completion of this program, graduates will have earned 27 semester credit hours or nearly half of an Associates in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Airframe Technology before graduating high school.
Upon reflection of his visit to Hallmark University, Congressman Smith stated, “It is refreshing to see educators and industry working together to solve these complex issues and securing hope for our leaders of tomorrow.”