HU Aeronautics Campus Hangar

NEISD partners with Hallmark University offering students the new Aero CHI Program

The new Aerospace College Headstart Institute (Aero CHI) program offered by Hallmark University to qualifying North East Independent School District (NEISD) students is a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved college-level program designed to prepare each student for a career in aerospace manufacturing and maintenance. According to the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (EDF), over 13,000 San Antonio employees work in the aerospace industry with an average wage of nearly $60,000, and Boeing projects a worldwide need for 679,000 new aviation maintenance technicians over the next 20 years. Hallmark University produces more FAA licensed technicians than any other program in Texas and is ready to welcome these high school juniors into the head start program to fulfill the needs of the aerospace industry in San Antonio and the nation.

“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.”

According to their website, NEISD’s goals for partnering with local colleges and universities offering these types of career training courses are to “equip students with technical and professional skills necessary to succeed in today’s high demand occupational environment, provide students with relevant contexts for studying and learning, and to link school-based learning with the knowledge and skills required for success in the workplace.”

Securing a partnership with Hallmark via the Aero CHI program allows the district’s students to earn 27 semester credit hours (or nearly half of an AAS degree in Airframe Technology), study in an active aviation workplace, and prepare to become the next generation of aerospace professionals. Aero CHI graduates who decide to continue their studies with Hallmark will benefit from the fact that 90% of Hallmark graduates receive employment in their field(s) of study, complete their programs in half the time of similar programs at traditional colleges and universities, and save over $10,000 in tuition fees towards their aeronautics degree.

Data obtained from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that students who pursue a career as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician (a pathway made obtainable by the Aero CHI program) can expect to see a steady job field over the next 10 years and higher median wages when compared to other industry maintenance occupations (small engines, motorcycles, heavy equipment, and auto service). For eligibility into the Aero CHI program, students must be part of the NEISD school district, current 10th-grade students going into their 11th-grade year the following fall, and in current good academic standing. Students must also have health insurance or purchase NEISD Student Accident Insurance and must have transportation to Hallmark’s aeronautics campus (NEISD will provide transportation from the facility to the student’s home campus). Applicants will be considered based on their aviation assessment score, high school experience, and a background check (required to be cleared by the FAA in order to attend courses located at San Antonio International Airport).