Pupils learn about transportation jobs

Published 12:37 am Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alvin Powell (at right, facing group) talks to students about careers in aviation at Warren Field Airport during Transportation Career Day on Wednesday. (WDN Photo/Keith Mason Jr.)

Some Beaufort County Schools students were exposed to possible careers in the transportation field during a two-day event this week.

They participated in the Transportation Career Day event at Warren Field Airport on Wednesday and Thursday. The event was coordinated with Elizabeth City State University, Beaufort County Community College, Coast Guard Auxiliary, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, City of Washington Fire/Rescue/EMS and the airport, which is owned by the city.

Each day of the event featured two identical sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each lasting two hours. Students at each session were split into two groups, with each group attending informational presentations at one of two locations. After an hour, the groups swapped locations.

Before being split into groups, students heard Alvin Powell, chief organizer of the event, talk about the transportation careers. Powell, a retired FBI agent, flight instructor and law-enforcement instructor at BCCC, spoke to students about background checks required for some jobs and licenses, staying out of trouble and not developing a criminal record. He also encouraged students to work hard in school, be persistent and create a formula for studying. Those themes were reiterated by speakers at the various sessions.

At one station, students listened to Anthony Sharp, director of ECSU’s aviation-science program. Sharp provided information about the program, types of concentrations and job opportunities in the aviation field and the kinds of classes required for those concentrations and job opportunities. After a question-and-answer session, students viewed the interior of one of the planes on the tarmac.

At the other station, located inside the nearby Beaufort County Cooperative Extension Center, students received information from Don Lindberg about opportunities in the Coast Guard. Also, BCCC’s Clay Carter talked about the advantages of getting an education at a community college. David Crosby gave a PowerPoint presentation on BCCC’s commercial driver’s license program and jobs that require a CDL. Again, staying out of trouble, having no criminal record and having a good driving record were stressed.

Afterward, students viewed a fire truck, an ambulance, a sheriff’s patrol car, a small, Coast Guard boat and a tractor-trailer rig BCCC uses for truck-driver training.

Between sessions, students watched a skydiving demonstration by John Rogers and Zac Bunzey, followed by a question-and-answer session fielded by Rogers.

Transportation Career Day was a collaborative effort made possible by a shared desire between organizers and supporters to make a positive difference in the students’ lives and to show students about locally available job training and job opportunities, organizers said.

“We want kids to know you don’t have to be a rock star or an athlete to be successful,” Powell said.