SAN ANTONIO - Since 1969, Hallmark University has celebrated a strong legacy of aviation in San Antonio.
- 50th year of the program
- Expanded to San Antonio ISD
- Last 3 classes had 100 percent placement
Now in its 50th year, a new program is expanding to open the doors of opportunity for the next generation.
"Usually, for example, a car we just take it to a mechanic and we take it back, we don't really think about the amount of work that goes into engines," said Angel Gonzalez during an interview.
Gonzalez just graduated from high school and has a pretty good idea of what he wants to do next because of Hallmark University's Aerospace College Head-Start Institute (Aero CHI) Program.
He spent the early morning hours of his junior and senior year inside a hangar, learning how to be an aircraft mechanic.
"Going through this program, it's a benefit and it's an investment for yourself, because they could teach you skills not only as being an aviation mechanic, but as well as being a person," he said.
For the last two years it's been open to North East ISD, but now it's expanded to San Antonio ISD.
"They're juniors and seniors come here for two years, they are in 30 hours of college credit. And they also save about $10,500 in tuition. So they can actually be a 19-year-old kid finishing the program with two degrees. Their FAA airframe and power plant license and we find them a job," said Hallmark's Dean of College of Aeronautics Kurt Leslie.
The school says the last three classes had 100 percent placement rate and the average pay for someone walking out the door is $21 an hour.
"There's a really good chance you're going to walk out of here with a decent paying job," Leslie said.
As the need for aircraft technicians across the board continues to grow, Gonzalez feels like he's in a spot.
He's hoping to get an apprenticeship and has been pursuing his private pilot’s license in flight school on the side.
"And I also, after this program, I want to be in a AMP position so that we can build up my experience and move on through the company and hopefully become an executive or manager," he said.
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