Aviation Advisory Meeting Minutes

Nov 17, 2020, 4 p.m.

Meeting Place



Nancy Sweet, David Pietrzak


Nancy Sweet, David Pietrzak, Josh Collins, Arnold Tullis, Christina Courier, Todd Cole, Michael Clark, Susan Shea, Trenton Kessler, Clayton Stambaugh, Troy Reiser, Beth Sohn, Nick Keith, Mark Hanna, Sandy Sarayath, Jim Templeton, James Campbell, James Bildill




1. Welcome & Introductions
2. Discussion of local industry and employment trends and desired attributes
3. Student Employment and Potential for Work-Related Education Opportunities (Apprenticeships/Internships)
4. Education Enrichment: site visits and guest speaking opportunities
5. Recruitment Ideas or Avenues
6. Help Wanted
7. Spring 2021 Meeting



Welcome & Introductions - Brief update about LLCC Aviation.


Local industry and employment trends and desired attributes.

  • Question: How strong is occupational demand for the next 6 to 12 months and into the next 3 to 5 years?
    • Need to keep up to date with equipment due to avionic troubleshooting in the future in the industry. COVID has put a spotlight on General Aviation. Flight department schedules are up because they can’t depend on airlines. Noticed that people hiring the most is FBO type who provide aircraft charter services. Avionics technician demand is “sky rocketing”. Being able to hit the ground running without needing additional training is almost impossible to find. Airlines are down and seeing more General Aviation (corporate aircraft). Stellar is looking to build their maintenance. “General Aviation” up due to recent expansion.
  • Question: How can we better recruit students to the industry?
    • Illinois Aviation Systems Plan along with DCEO doing a survey that has an economic impact component which will collect date on employment for each airport on maintenance, flight, or administrative employment needs plus salaries. Hope for data by end of year. Aviation Explorers and how schools are reluctant to allow people in to talk to the counselors in high schools about careers in aviation. One person responded when they interview for an intern position, people being interviewed never even considered it because it is not something that is common in everyday life for most people, it is unique. Smaller General Aviation shops seem to be compensating students better than the larger areas.
  • Questions: 1. Are LLCC graduates meeting your needs? 2. What areas could be improved?
    • Aircrafts are becoming more electronic. Updating the training for the newer systems would be jumping right into where we would need to be. More diagnostic training. The other thing would be showing students how to actually look into maintenance and parts manuals, the Type Certificate Data Sheet (TCDS). Comparing LLCC to other programs gaps would be structure and more soft skills related rather than the technical piece. Hasn’t seen any specific academic gaps but would like to see more Avionics training. Finds that a lot of new mechanics haven’t actually flown in an aircraft and they don’t understand how some of the instruments or systems work when they are actually operating in an aircraft. Gives the person working on the aircraft a sense of responsibility and reality of what could happen if something is not done correctly. Having the Pilots license along with A & P really makes you valuable.
  • Questions: 1.What writing would you see graduates doing? 2. What type of writing would you require?
    • Either too long winded or not giving enough information. Need a good short descriptive answer that is going to be abbreviated but make sense. Handwriting is not always great and not always legible. All work requires logbook entry. Need technicians that can read and understand a book but also technicians that will go to the book or digital resource. All work orders are handwritten and the two graduates currently employed do great with it. Very important that they be legible for the airlines.


Student Employment and Potential for Work-Related Education Opportunities (Apprenticeships/Internships)

Josh Collins, LLCC employee explained Work Based Learning opportunities and partnering with employers.

  • Questions: 1. How can we get students the training they need? 2. How can we get workforce the workers they need.
    • Unsure of how it would work for anything they learn in the shop if it would go toward their credits. Would love to collaborate with the college to come and guest speak or assist in any way. Would be curious to know if LLCC Aviation students work with smaller flight departments. In Jacksonville the Airport Authority runs the flight training program and Cole Aviation has the contract to work on the aircraft. This has been beneficial for both parties.
  • Question: How can we have a symbiotic relationship going forward so we have new blood going into the industry from year to year?
    • Adjuncts are very helpful and the feedback from students are they would rather have someone teaching that knows what they are doing rather than have someone teach from a book and saying this is how to do it.
  • Question: Is there any way the school could incorporate into classes what is going on in the field, give them a real-life experience?
    • One person would be able to help as much as he could. Dave, LLCC, requested more information about federal program for internship/apprenticeship. Josh, LLCC, explained registered apprenticeships with the Department of Labor and various questions about them.
  • Question from PAC member: Is there a program or possibility of a program where the work a student does in the field goes toward their certificate? Does not know where the FAA’s stance is on this.
    • Current FAA standard is if doing apprenticeship, it takes 3 years to complete time requirements and if going through a Part 147 it takes 18 months (minimum 1900 hours). There is an IL Senator who is an aviator that is interested in Aviation Workforce Development. One member was unaware of the registered apprenticeship in conjunction with LLCC but interested in meeting later about needs of Standard Aero.
  • Question from PAC member: What about degrees and the writing courses potentially added to a degree and if having the Associate in Applied Science degree offered any further benefit versus Certificates only.
    • May be able to climb the corporate ladder at bigger company compared to smaller employer the degree isn’t as important. A degree would be looked at for someone that would be a future Director of Maintenance because they have a different level of knowledge. Having the degree versus not, would not make or break a decision to hire a person. Certificates are far more critical piece of what a student would be obtaining from degree. Jim, LLCC explained how SWIC has 2 + 2 program with SIU. SIU is looking to expand off campus program and credits from LLCC are transferable to SIU.
  • Question from PAC member: What about potential of tailoring degree(s) towards more maintenance specializations for industry.
    • Potential to establish something with employers for students to gain OJT and receive LLCC credit. Nancy, LLCC, is interested in having one on one conversations about what employers’ needs are and how LLCC can provide that.

Action Items

  • Email survey to group - Assigned to: Dave Pietrzak -  Due Date: TBD