California Aeronautical University (CAU) hosted their 3rd annual Aviation Career Day to more than 400 attendees to include students from 17 high schools in Kern County this month. CAU’s Aviation Career Day is not only an inspirational learning experience for new aspiring pilots and aircraft maintenance technicians, but also a chance for the close-knit community of aviation enthusiasts to come together and celebrate their love of all things aviation.
The Career Day featured 27 different exhibitors from every facet of the aviation industry including airlines, airport management, air traffic control, agricultural aviation, corporate aviation, skydiving, experimental aviation, armed forces, first responders, fire department, law enforcement, national aviation organizations, engineering, and aircraft maintenance. The aircraft displays included drones, simulators, Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting trucks, and an aircraft maintenance vehicle featured on the ramp as interactive displays. There was enough to engage just about anyone wanting to learn more about careers in aviation.
Megan Dutto who teaches ‘Introduction to Aviation’ at North Bakersfield High School said this is her third time attending CAU’s Aviation Career day with her students and feels that events like these are very important because it makes it more real and compliments what she teaches in the classroom. She said, “One of my student’s eyes just burst open because he had never been in an airplane. He could not wait to go home and show his parents the pictures.” She added, “I really like how CAU had a lot of aviation career fields represented as well. I feel that’s important.”
CAU’s 22-acre campus is located right on Meadows Field Airport (BFL). Mark Witsoe, the Airport Director gave opening remarks to the attendees, emphasizing how aviation impacts our daily lives: “The next decade of aviation is going to be boundlessly dynamic.” He added that “careers in aviation also generate high standards of excellence and aviation has been in the forefront of how people and machines work together.”
Tamu Smith-Kohls, the Chief Recruitment Officer for CAU, has an outreach team that takes their mobile flight simulator to schools and events throughout the west coast. “We don’t just do this to promote CAU, this is something that I know Matt Johnston is passionate about, and that is exposing our youth to a concept that they may have never had an opportunity to experience otherwise. It is that spark, that starts the flame! When that aviation fire gets going it’s very hard to extinguish. That is why we do what we do.”
Matt Johnston CAU’s president, a pilot himself, said he is greatly looking forward to the career day gaining more momentum over the next few years. He said, “Every year we have more and more partners, organizations and exhibitors wanting to come out and be a part of this great effort to inspire the next generation and we are thankful for all of them. I’m proud of what we have done here and we could not have done this without the hard work and dedication of the CAU staff, most importantly Rachel Grant our Director of Graduate Services who worked tirelessly to put on this well attended event.”
The event concluded with a drawing in which students won discovery flights from CAU and many more prizes from exhibitors. This year’s event had a great turn-out and the community is already anticipating next year!