Georgia educators visit Robins, shown ways to inspire youth

  • Published
  • By Amanda Creel
  • 78 ABW/PA
When it comes to having a workforce ready to support the warfighter, Robins' leadership is working to ensure our workforce is ready for any challenge now and in the future.

Teachers and other educators from around the state and numerous institutions visited Robins April 10 as part of "A Day at Robins," where they were given an inside look in an effort to help inspire teachers to motivate students across the state to pursue the aerospace industry.

"A Day at Robins" was an outstanding opportunity to showcase our mission and our current and future workforce needs to our community K-12 educators, as well as the leadership from our surrounding universities, colleges and technical schools. Members of our senior staff and I presented the Georgia educators in attendance with our vision and discussed our projected educational needs required to maintain the viability and vitality of our workforce for the next few decades," said Maj. Gen. Tom Owen, Warner Robins Air Logistics Center commander.

Robins' leadership opened the gates to the educators to help shed light on the missions at Robins and the skill sets needed to succeed here.

"We at Robins Air Force Base are very dependent on our educators to guide and encourage students toward aerospace careers. We have a wide array of workforce needs from aircraft mechanics to engineers, from financial managers to contract negotiators, program managers, and human resource experts. The "Day at Robins" was an opportunity for senior leaders to share what they do and explain future hiring opportunities in a variety of career fields," said Debra Singleton, chief of training and professional development for the personnel directorate.

The educators said the opportunity to see what's behind the gates will allow them to better prepare students interested in pursuing careers in the aerospace industry.

"We are here trying to get an understanding of the base and how we can better partner with them to get employment for our students," said Calvin Williams, a counselor at Middle Georgia Technical College.

The educators were treated to an up-close look at some maintenance areas on base such as commodities, C-17, C-5 and electronics maintenance.

"We have been on great tours. When we went to the hangar where the planes were, it was so impressive, they were so large. It was amazing to see the intricacies of how a plane comes in and is taken a part and put back together," said Rosemary Knight, a social worker for the Georgia Academy for the Blind.

For some of the educators the most rewarding moment of the day was seeing the fruits of their own labors.

Sandra Wilcox, a recruiter for Middle Georgia Technical College said seeing the success of one of their college's co-op students here on the base was an amazing experience.

"For the guidance counselors, graduation coaches, and teachers, we wanted them to see first-hand some of the important work for our nation that goes on behind these fences. With that first-hand awareness we hope that they will spread the word to the students they guide about career opportunities in aerospace. For school principals, superintendents, and college administrators, our goal was to stimulate their creative thinking about designing educational programs to better attract and prepare students for aerospace careers," Ms. Singleton said.

Once the educators learned more about what was inside the gates, they were given an opportunity to see some of the many resources available at the Museum of Aviation for students and teachers.

"I can't wait to get back to school and let the kids know about this stuff," said Rhonda McDuffie, a school counselor at Bonaire Middle School.

She said it is also good to know there are opportunities available for the students during summer break and other school holidays where they can use their math, science and technology skills in fun ways.

"The educators from the state need to see all the different programs available to them as a resource," said Melissa Spaulding, director of education for the museum.

While at the museum, the educators were given the opportunity to tour the museum -- and see many of the resources available for school field trips -- and a chance to plunder through the NASA Regional Educator Resource Center.