San Antonio’s North East Independent School District (NEISD) has partnered with Hallmark University to provide high school students with an early opportunity to pursue a career in the aerospace manufacturing and maintenance industry via Hallmark’s “Aerospace College Head Start Institute” (Aero CHI) program. The college-level non-publicly funded program is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is free of charge to enrolled students due to charitable contributions. Thus far, Hallmark has raised $13,000 to cover enrollment and operating expenses for the program.
According to the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (EDF), over 13,000 San Antonio employees work in the aerospace industry and Boeing projects a worldwide need for 679,000 new aviation maintenance technicians over the next 20 years. Hallmark’s Aero CHI program is being implemented to help fulfill this need, is fully enrolled, and begins August 17, 2017.
“The Aero CHI program is the first of its kind for a private nonprofit university in San Antonio but we have a long history of partnering with San Antonio educational institutions in aerospace,” said Brent Fessler, President of Hallmark University. “Hallmark invested in and supported the original Alamo Academies Aerospace Academy in 2000 taking early graduates to very successful careers after graduating from Hallmark. HU was also instrumental in building the aviation maintenance program at St Philip’s College. Because the Aerospace Academy at St. Philip’s College is geographically impractical, Hallmark is pleased to welcome NEISD students directly on our campus at San Antonio International Airport.”
NEISD’s partnering with Hallmark marks a shift for the district having once been partnered with Alamo Colleges for aerospace education. However, in the first term since the new partnership, NEISD student enrollments in aerospace education are higher than previous years. Both NEISD and Hallmark expect to see more students pursuing aerospace careers before and after high school as a result of this partnership and the Aero CHI program.
Aero CHI will take place at Hallmark University’s College of Aeronautics located at the San Antonio International Airport. Enrolled students will conduct their studies inside of an airport hangar and earn 27 semester credit hours (nearly half of an AAS degree in Airframe Technology) before graduating from high school. For graduates of Aero CHI choosing to continue their studies at Hallmark after high school, they will benefit from over $10,000 in tuition savings as a result of having already completed much of their coursework.