Feb. 6, 2017

Each year, the aviation businesses that call California’s Van Nuys Airport (VNY) home have coordinated with the airport and Junior Achievement (JA) of Southern California to introduce high school students to the spectrum of aviation careers, including those in business aviation, through JA’s annual Groundhog Day Job Shadowing activity.

“Continued participation in the event speaks to their investment in the students and the future of aviation as a whole,” said NBAA Western Reginal Representative Stacy Howard. “It is an opportunity any airport-business team can take advantage of by contacting the nearest chapter of Junior Achievement.”

This year, after an airfield bus tour that explained its daily operations, more than three dozen students from Van Nuys High School shadowed mentors across the airport. Eight VNY tenants and two airport departments took part in this year’s event. Participants included: Aeroplex/Aerolease, Castle & Cooke Aviation, Sun Air Jets, Skybird Aviation, Corsair Aviation, The Park VNY, Los Angeles Fire Department Station 114 and VNY’s Airport Operations and Maintenance divisions.

Van Nuys Airport is one of the country’s busiest general aviation airports.

A lottery connected the students to the aviation profession they wished to shadow, said Charlie Wilken, a science and robotics teacher who leads Van Nuys High School’s technical arts program. Students also shadowed airframe and powerplant teachers at the North Valley Occupational Center.

“The annual job shadowing activity introduces the students to aviation and allows them to see how the fundamental science, technology, electronics and math skills they are learning in the technical arts program work in aviation,” said Wilken, who said his school does not have an aviation program

“When students enter 10th grade, we emphasize the importance of seeking out and focusing on career possibilities so they can plot the educational path that leads to them,” he added. The annual Junior Achievement Groundhog Day Job Shadowing at Van Nuys Airport introduces them to aviation’s opportunities at this important time, “and they are always happy at the end of the day for the experience.”

The program’s emphasis on careers in general aviation – including business aviation – as an industry that supports more than 1 million American jobs, reflects a central theme of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, jointly sponsored by NBAA and GAMA.