Aero students in front of plane.
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The Continued Growth in Hallmark University’s Aero CHI Program

Hallmark University began its free Aerospace College Head-start Institute (Aero CHI) program two years ago with a group of NEISD high school students, training them in aerospace education during the early mornings of their school days. This opportunity provides students the chance to learn more about an industry that could turn into a promising career for them, fully immersing students in an industry that many have been passionate about their entire lives. This original group of high school students completed their program in May 2019 and entered into Hallmark University’s Airframe & Powerplant program, with less than a year of school left until they graduate with two Associate Degrees and two industry certifications.

“Aero CHI began with a conversation and a need with Northeast Independent School District here in San Antonio,” said Brent Fessler, Hallmark University’s Chief Advancement and Institutional Effectiveness Officer. “They believed they had students that would be interested in an aviation career if there was a program available to shed light on the industry. Other similar programs were too far away and impossible for their students to participate in. They asked if we would support a program for their juniors and seniors, saving them time and money when they graduate. We’re proud to have made this opportunity available to these great students.”

Aero CHI has continued to expand since the first cohort of students began their training at Hallmark University’s College of Aeronautics. Two additional cohorts from NEISD high schools have enrolled in the program, steadily growing the number of students who begin their college career before they turn eighteen. Hallmark University recently expanded Aero CHI to SAISD school districts including students from Sidney Lanier High School and Edison High School for the current school year. Aero CHI will always remain free to each high school student as Hallmark University expands the number of schools involved.

“We’re very excited about the continued expansion into San Antonio’s school districts,” said Kurt Leslie, Dean for the College of Aeronautics at Hallmark University. “This is an outstanding program for the community, because it gives students an opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a booming aviation industry right here in San Antonio… and at no cost to them.”

Hallmark University’s legacy in aviation began nearly 50 years ago in September of 1969 at Stinson Municipal Airport training aircraft technicians for a rapidly growing industry, an important role it continues to fulfill today. The aviation industry in San Antonio is one of the largest in the city, providing every graduate of the College of Aeronautics a chance of securing a high-paying career and opportunities for advancement. Providing opportunities for this specialized career path to San Antonio’s youth is a challenge and an opportunity that Hallmark University is proud to undertake.

Watch Spectrum News’ coverage to learn more about Aero CHI and the first students to graduate and enroll full-time.

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