Gov. Herbert visits with aerospace manufacturing students in Cedar City

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert poses with students enrolled in Southwest Aerospace Manufacturing Strategic Workforce program, Cedar City, Utah, July 12, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert paid a visit to Cedar City Airport Thursday morning to visit with participants and partners in the innovative Southwest Aerospace Manufacturing Strategic Workforce program.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert meets with those involved in the Southwest Aerospace Manufacturing Strategic Workforce program, Cedar City, Utah, July 12, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

Herbert visited with nearly a dozen students enrolled in the program, who ranged from teenage high schoolers to adults in their 20s and 30s. Dozens of others were on hand to hear the governor’s remarks and pose for pictures afterward next to a small jet and a helicopter parked on the tarmac.

Herbert told the students in the program they will be able to develop skills that will put them at the forefront of the fast-growing, high-paying aerospace industry.

“You’re on the cutting edge. I expect that more and more of that’s going to take place throughout the country and throughout the world,” Herbert said. ”You’re in a very good sector for economic stability and economic opportunity.”

Herbert also took the time to visit with each participant individually, asking them how they got interested in the program.

“I like the marketable skills that I have,” one of the participants responded. “I like that I’m learning new things. I like that I’m learning to use the tools and learning to read blueprints. I can tell people, yeah, I know how to do this.”

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert meets with those involved in the Southwest Aerospace Manufacturing Strategic Workforce program, Cedar City, Utah, July 12, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

According to officials, the program is a collaborative effort of Iron County School District, Southwest Technical College, Southern Utah University and MSC Aerospace. Students can start and even complete certificates while still in high school, taking advantage of concurrent enrollment classes.

After high school, they may either enter the workforce directly or choose to further their studies at either Southwest Tech or SUU. Should they later decide to switch schools they can now readily do so, thanks to a new dual enrollment agreement between the two institutions.

Read more: Southern Utah University, Southwest Tech launch dual enrollment program

Brennan Wood, president of Southwest Technical College, praised the students and instructors for their commitment and efforts, and said the college is committed to finding new enrollees

“We’re talking to fifth-graders. We’re talking to eighth-graders. We’re talking to freshmen and seniors,” Wood said. “We’re developing that pipeline and creating these high school pathways that lead to a meaningful career.”

Among the many possible career pathways are aircraft manufacturing, maintenance, design and engineering. Students in the program have already built or are building several fuselages.

Read more: If you want a career in aerospace, this is a new option you should look at; for college and high school students

During his whirlwind visit to Iron County Thursday, Herbert also addressed public school teachers and administrators at the Utah Rural Schools Conference held at SUU, and paid a visit to the Southwest Tech campus.

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