SOURCE: Los Angeles World Airports

February 29, 2008 16:00 ET

Valley High School Counselors and Students Learn First-Hand About Aviation Careers at Van Nuys Airport

VAN NUYS, CA--(Marketwire - February 29, 2008) - More than 60 middle and high school career counselors from more than 35 area schools serving 70,200 students today came together for Flight Path to the Future, a free half-day forum aimed at enabling students interested in aviation- and aerospace-related career paths to let their dreams take flight. Sponsored by Van Nuys Airport (VNY) and the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, the program provided counselors and other educators tools and resources to guide students interested in both professional and career technical occupations through panel discussions, keynote speakers and informational exhibits.

"At Van Nuys Airport, which supports more than 12,500 jobs, we believe strongly that it is our responsibility to provide students the encouragement, inspiration and practical advice necessary to give wings to their dreams," said VNY Airport Manager Selena Birk. "The Van Nuys Airport community is committed to serving as an ongoing resource to educators, parents and the students they guide."

The counselors and educators at today's event heard from panelists representing aviation professional and trade occupations, as well as from Los Angeles City Councilmember Tony Cárdenas and Ronald A. Ramos, Director of Expendable Propulsion Programs, Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, who provided keynote remarks.

At lunch, approximately 20 students from San Fernando High School joined the counselors after participating in a morning of job shadowing, which included touring the airfield and shadowing a workplace mentor during normal on-the-job activities. Students learned first-hand about careers such as airfield operations, corporate flight operations, aircraft sales and management, and airport maintenance.

"Today, more than ever, our young people need the support and guidance of caring adults to understand the opportunities available to them," said Los Angeles City Councilmember Tony Cárdenas during opening remarks. "Your work on the front line of education is also vital to building our future workforce and to keeping our state and nation competitive in the global economy."

Bruce Ackerman, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, added that the years to come will bring numerous opportunities for students to pursue aviation and aerospace careers in Los Angeles County.

"Over the next decade, thousands of jobs are expected to be available in the Los Angeles region in areas like aerospace engineering; aircraft and service mechanic work; installation, maintenance and repair; air traffic control; and avionics," he said. "We need students to know about these opportunities, and to develop the life skills and workforce skills to both achieve their dreams and to sustain a strong economy."

The expert panelists who participated in the Flight Path to the Future event included Charles A. Sternberg, CDR, USN (Ret.), Deputy Director of Flight Operations Facilities, General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc.; Mike Terrill, Director of Academic Support, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Tony Marlow, General Manager, Hawker Beechcraft Services; Sergeant Kendra Williams, K-9 Unit, Los Angeles Airport Police; Sharon Lencki, Instructor, Glendale Community College; Phillip Struyk, Instructor, Education Center - North Valley Campus; and Flora Margheritis, Superintendent of Operations III, Los Angeles International Airport.

The sessions were moderated San Fernando Valley Business Journal Publisher Pegi Matsuda and CBS 2/ KCAL 9 News General Assignment Reporter and Weekend News Anchor Juan Fernandez.

For more information on VNY's community and educational programs and activities, visit or call (818) 909-3529.