WATC announced Airbus donation and new Workforce AID project

Airbus unveiled its donation of an A320 elevator valued at nearly $500,000

Kansas Department of Commerce invested $182,960 as part of a new Workforce AID partnership to train 70 employees for Spirit AeroSystems

WICHITA, Kan. – Two of WATC’s major partners demonstrated their strong support for technical training in Wichita. Airbus and the Kansas Department of Commerce made two major announcements at an event Monday, Aug. 17 at WATC’s main campus, the National Center for Aviation Training.

Airbus announced and unveiled its donation of an elevator from an A320 commercial aircraft. Spanning nearly 20 feet in width and valued at nearly $500,000, the elevator is a critical flight control component that makes up part of the tail section of the company’s popular commercial aircraft. Elevators control the pitch of a plane while in flight, allowing the aircraft to go up and down. WATC students will use the donated elevator to conduct tap testing for defects, composite mapping and repair, and non-destructive testing for water entrapments. The commercial elevator will also provide students with an example of a composite structural build.

“The main role a well-trained maintenance technician plays in the field is absolutely critical.  The role is critical to make sure the aircraft is safe to fly. We are proud to be part of the Wichita community and proud to partner with WATC.”
John O’Leary, Vice President and General Manager, Airbus


The Kansas Department of Commerce and the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas announced a $182,960 Workforce AID project to help train 70 sheet metal assembly employees for Spirit AeroSystems. The company has experienced strong demand for workers with these skills and has announced the need to hire up to 500 such employees. WATC’s Workforce AID sheet metal assembly pilot project runs seven weeks and serves as an employment training pipeline for Spirit and other local manufacturers. Successful participants receive college credit, industry credentials and a job with Spirit.

“This is a great collaboration between government, education and industry.”
Sheree Utash, Interim President , Wichita Area Technical College

“Businesses tell us what they need to be more successful. Education is linked to better economic growth.”
Zoe Gruber, Director, Workforce Training and Education, Kansas Department of Commerce and Kansas Board of Regents


Speakers for the event included representatives from Airbus, the Kansas Department of Commerce, the Kansas Postsecondary Technical Education Authority, and WATC.


WATC is a Kansas Board of Regents institution and the state’s leader in modern technical education, offering 100+ programs of study in aviation, healthcare, manufacturing, design, business and general education. WATC is managing partner of the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) in Wichita.
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Wichita Area Technical College
4004 N Webb Rd
Wichita, Kansas, 67226
Phone: 316-677-9400
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