The Air Capital realized a big win last fall when the Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) not only secured the largest grant in its history, but was chosen to lead a national consortium. The ambitious charge – develop aviation-manufacturing training curricula that will become the industry standard. Outreach for this initiative will be equally ambitious. But it’s a challenge that Greteman Group, the chosen communications firm, is up to.

“Our agency’s aviation expertise, industry advocacy and longstanding relationship with WATC uniquely position us for this opportunity,” says Sonia Greteman. “You might say we were born to do this.”

WATC’s portion of the $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant approaches $9 million. It is part of the Obama administration’s $500 million national job-training initiative. The effort emphasizes local employer partnerships. Greteman Group’s efforts will address both employers and students. Scope of services include research, campaign messaging and creative, identity and brand development, website, search engine optimization, television, radio, print, outdoor, email and social media. The campaign will launch mid summer.

“This grant epitomizes public-private collaboration and working together to achieve very critical goals,” says WATC Vice President of Academic Affairs Sheree Utash. “We see Greteman Group as integral to our efforts and look forward to taking this journey together.”

WATC will coordinate efforts among four other community colleges. They include Ivy Tech Community College (Ft. Wayne, Ind.), Guilford Technical Community College (Jamestown, N.C.), Tulsa Community College (Tulsa, Okla.) and Edmonds Community College (Lynnwood, Wash.). Each will work with employers and partners in their respective states. In Wichita, those include Bombardier Learjet, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Spirit AeroSystems, Kansas Board of Regents, Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas, and the Kansas Department of Commerce’s KANSAS WORKS.

“Establishing national standard aviation credentials creates an educational platform that boosts the quality of employees in the industry,” says John Dieker, Vice President, Strategic Projects, Bombardier Learjet. “The U.S. aviation industry requires a highly skilled workforce so we can continue to push the envelope, using new materials and technologies to travel faster, farther, more efficiently and with less environmental impact.”

Students will receive accelerated training for aviation manufacturing jobs that have gone unfilled due to a shortage of skilled labor. After developing needed core competencies, students can pursue technical certifications in aerostructures, tooling, quality assurance, composites and more. Clear career paths will be tied to employer demand.

About Wichita Area Technical College

Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) provides a high-tech, high-wage, high-demand career pipeline for students. It partners with employers to equip people with relevant skills for jobs today and tomorrow. It houses the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), the world’s premier facility for the development of a skilled aviation-manufacturing workforce. NCAT was built by Sedgwick County in 2010 and boasts 220,000 square feet of state-of-the-art training labs and classrooms. Additionally, a portion of its campus is utilized by Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR).