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Grant Used to Provide Free Training for High School Students in Hallmark’s Aero-CHI Program

Hallmark University was recently chosen for a grant from the Southwest Airlines Foundation to be utilized in its College of Aeronautics. The Southwest Airlines Charitable Grant was awarded to several nonprofit organizations across the United States, who have been tasked with using the funds to support youth and industry development programs. Hallmark University was chosen to utilize the grant for its Aerospace College Head-start Institute (Aero CHI), a program designed to train high school students in their junior and senior years on aircraft maintenance at no cost to them.

Aero chi cohort 1 students working on planeHallmark University founded Aero CHI in 2017 after the Boeing Company released a report detailing a projected shortage of trained aviation technicians within the next decade. Aero CHI is designed to give high school students a head start in a career in aerospace, quickly filling the roles left vacant by a retiring generation of technicians. The first cohort of students in the program are set to graduate this May and will emerge less than 12 months away from earning two associates degrees from Hallmark University.

“Skilled Aircraft Mechanics are in high demand and companies such as Boeing, Standard Aero, and ST Engineering are willing to pay a premium for talented wrench turners,” said Kurt Leslie, Dean for the College of Aeronautics. “This program is key to building the next generation of aircraft mechanics and the sooner we can expose young people to the world of aviation the better it will be for our community of aerospace professionals.”

When Aero CHI students continue their education and graduate from Hallmark University, they will find an abundance of employment opportunities available to them. The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce recently released an aerospace impact study that detailed a growing and thriving $3.4 billion aerospace industry in the San Antonio region alone. The report also detailed Boeing’s estimates for the aircraft services market, which is projected to grow to $8.8 trillion over the next 20 years.

aero chi students with donated engineSouthwest Airlines previously donated a CFM56 jet engine to the College of Aeronautics to provide students with new training opportunities during their studies. This popular engine is still utilized by aircraft such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320. These resources and assets aid in the continual improvement and growth of Hallmark University’s original aeronautics technician program, which approaches the 50th anniversary since its founding as Hallmark Aero-Tech in 1969.

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