Ever thought about a career in business aviation?
Chances are, the answer is no. Many do not even know what business aviation is.
And that is the problem.
Business aviation encompasses corporate and charter flight operations, companies that use aircraft as business tools and companies that make those tools available to other companies and individuals. In Cobb County alone, business aviation and the jobs that support it (airport services, airframe and power plant mechanics, etc.) comprise a $12 million/year industry that employs 842 people.
Most of the companies are relatively small. Take Flightworks, for example. This charter flight operator handles both civilian and military contracts. For instance, they fly freight missions to and inside Afghanistan. Flightworks employs 120 people.
Today, HR Director Cyndi Sheriff is looking to fill four positions which include a couple of pilots. Ordinarily, paying close attention to the hiring process while continuing to manage the personnel affairs of a company with two corporate offices and employees all over the world, would be a daunting task for her. But instead of looking for workers through a staffing agency or an online job-seeker firm, Sheriff is at the Georgia Department of Labor’s Cobb-Cherokee Career Center in Kennesaw. And she is impressed.
“It saved me time and energy that I would not otherwise have been able to put forth,” Sheriff says. “They reached out to the candidates, they set up the time, they set up the place for me to do the quick face-to-face interviews.”
GDOL staffers even reached out to and personally contacted 300 potential applicants, many without backgrounds in business aviation, but qualified through related work in areas like sales and engineering.
“I can sit home all day filling out resumes in my pajamas, but here I can meet someone face-to-face. That’s the only way you really get to know somebody,” says corporate flight attendant Theresa Wicker. As she was arriving at the employment office, she opened the door for a woman who was on a cell phone and dragging behind her a huge briefcase on wheels. The woman on the phone turned out to be Sheriff and Wicker’s kindness made a distinct and positive impression on her.
“That was the first sign of customer service, she saw I had my hands full and she opened the door for me without expecting anything in return,” says Sheriff. “She didn’t know who I was. That’s the kind of attitude we’re looking for – and the kind of attitude you don’t see looking at resumes on the computer.”
Sheriff says she was so impressed by the pool of approximately 30 qualified candidates and with the service she received at the Career Center, she will definitely be back.
“I’d like to do this once a quarter. Having a job fair without competition in the same room? This is awesome!” she exclaims.
There is another benefit as well: Business aviation is aging. The average worker in that industry is more than 50 years old. Sheriff, and the people applying, all agree that using the Department of Labor to find and qualify initial applicants will help widen the pool of prospective applicants to include younger workers looking for a career in the clouds.