Gold Star Program
Antelope Valley College
Aircraft Fabrication and Assembly Technician
Antelope Valley College (AVC) earned Gold Star recognition under the Strong Workforce Stars program for its Aircraft Fabrication and Assembly (AFAB) Program. The Gold Star is the Strong Workforce Stars’ highest recognition and is awarded to career education programs that meet each of three criteria related to student outcomes that help move the needle on workforce development. Specifically, students who participate in this program boost their earnings by 94%, 78% attain the regional living wage, and 100% report securing a job closely related to their field of study.
According to Dr. Maria Clinton, Aeronautical Faculty and Department Chair, industry partners are chief to programmatic success. “The partnership is more than an advisory committee that meets once a year; I actively go and meet with industry partners at least once a month. I try to build a strong partnership, so when they are looking to fill positions, then they’ll come to me.” Dean of Career Technical Education Laureno Flores reiterated that the faculty, like Dr. Clinton, “are really engaged and active in reaching out to the community and industry.” Adjunct faculty, comprised of professionals who currently work in industry for many industry partners, are a valuable resource for the program, as their experiences inform the curriculum, projects, and processes that are taught to students.
AFAB is fortunate to have the resources to improve technology for its program, which serves to advance the program’s technical skills training. AFAB students learn using modern equipment, funded in part by Strong Workforce and Perkins funds for Career Technical Education. Industry partners contribute to programmatic success in numerous ways. They offer training equipment donations, educational programs for faculty and students, and a network to other manufacturing organizations.
The benefit of industry partnership is reciprocal. AFAB is quick to respond to industry needs. Dr. Clinton articulated, “So if training is lacking in a certain area, we meet with partners and talk about how technology or industry standards have changed. These issues are discussed; then I meet with faculty, and we make the changes [to curriculum]. We are very responsive to the needs of our local industry partners in terms of revising or upgrading curriculum and projects to make sure we are meeting the entry-level skills that these employers are looking for.”