The National Aviation Consortium: An Answer to the Aviation Skills Gap
10.01.13 · Sonia Greteman
A workforce skills crisis faces U.S. aviation manufacturers, the nation’s last major stronghold of manufacturing. They desperately need employees to fill crucial open positions in order to grow and maintain our global aviation leadership. While this may sound like good news for the scores of people who have recently found themselves unemployed, it’s not that easy. Aviation manufacturing employers require a specialized skill set and most applicants lack key qualifications. Jobs go unfilled and the problem persists.
Our agency, Greteman Group, has been helping aircraft manufacturers, flight support and aftermarket services for almost a quarter century. When I first learned of the National Aviation Consortium (NAC), I knew it could change the future of aviation. Through the consortium’s unprecedented training model, the industry will finally have the resources needed to soar above the current limitations.
Educational Partnerships Built to Meet Needs
Through a $15 million grant, awarded as part of the U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, NAC bridges the gap between manufacturers and workers.It partners with employers to develop a standardized curriculum for today’s jobs, while providing relevant and accelerated training for unfilled positions. Five technical and community colleges across the country form the key pillars to the consortium, and the liaisons between employers and untrained workers.
Support with Valuable Perspective
Earlier this year, NAC conducted a request-for-proposal process, and we were selected for outreach support. We dove into developing a strategy and message that gave the consortium a strong foundational voice. However, we knew that in order to be heard, we first must listen.
How do you create a brand that resonates with a seasoned veteran who’s been punching rivets for 20 years as well as with a kid fresh out of high school? A brand that speaks to a small machine shop and a global aerospace supplier? A brand for those doing the hiring and for those who desperately want to be hired? We needed to speak equally to them all.
We reached out directly to aviation employers and students. From large companies such as Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems and Cessna to small specialized manufacturers, employers told us what they needed. Through surveys and face-to-face intercepts at college campuses, manufacturing students shared their hurdles, goals and dreams. We found that the common bond between these two very different groups was their mutual desire to connect.
A New Brand Takes Flight
Armed with research and data, we built a campaign that would stand apart and resonate with the people who needed to hear it most, through two messages personalized to the particular audience. Move Yourself Up speaks to students eager to climb above their current circumstances. Trained and Ready confidently assures employers that NAC programs train students to hit the ground thinking. The tagline Education With a Flight Planunites both the student and employer-focused themes with a promise to deliver.
NAC’s new visuals convey movement and suggest success. Graphic arrows shoot up into the sky. Aircraft ascend, as do individuals. And a logo that suggests a pathway rising above the horizon, speaks to both aviation and the future. The visuals are put in motion through two targeted :30 TV spots with images that pop with vibrant colors and compelling animation. NAC’s branding was designed for a diverse set of outreach materials.
The consortium – which includes Wichita Area Technical College (Wichita, Kan.), 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.) – now has a dynamic, customizable campaign with valuable outreach tools that include TV, radio, print, outdoor and social media. Each can tailor templates and messaging to their individual school’s needs and regional markets across the country. Education With a Flight Plan is taking off. NAC – Student TV – 2013 (0:30) from Greteman Group on Vimeo.