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Gulfstream hosts career day
Employees at Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. at the Brunswick Golden Isles Airport certainly know the way to the hearts of middle schoolers - pizza, free gifts, paper airplane contests and massive G-5 planes sitting in a hangar.

The facility's second annual Aviation Career Day event will bring at least 320 eighth grade students to the hangar over a four-day period. A good many of them took the tour Tuesday.

Mike Creo, human resources manager, says Gulfstream reached out to both public and private schools in Glynn, Camden, McIntosh and Brantley counties but received commitments only from Glynn and Camden.

Creo says it's a great start to creating a fascination in children in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and a determination to finish school.

"The primary reason we bring the kids out is to help with the graduation rate in Glynn County. Ninth grade is ... where kids decide to drop out or stay in school. These are eighth graders who are getting ready to pick their classes for high school, and I want them to come here before that so they can know there are good-paying jobs in the aviation industry right here in Glynn County," he said.

"Hopefully they'll remember what they saw here and they'll stick it out. Not everything here requires a college degree, but they'll need that high school diploma."

Students from Risley and Glynn Middle schools in Brunswick visited Tuesday and were treated to more than just a tour. They got to take part in hands-on projects related to aerospace technology and work that goes on at Gulfstream.

Even the paper airplane contest mocks what happens at the facility, Creo says.

"The classes were divided into groups of four - one student is a mechanic, one a supervisor, another a quality control operator and another a pilot," Creo said. "The mechanic is the only one who can fold the paper into its shape. The quality control person has to stamp each fold like we would examine a project here, while the supervisor oversees it all and helps along the way. The pilot is the one who tries a few test flights and makes the adjustments and then ultimately throws it in the final trial."

In another wing of the building, Creo watched as Risley eighth graders tried their hands at a safety wire assembly. Carrington Wilkes and Avery Dahl, both savvy science students, took charge in their group, twisting and manipulating the wires.

"We're tightening them so they can't unravel," Avery said as she braided the wire, snipping ends with expert precision.

Avery and Carrington said their visit to Gulfstream opened their eyes to a variety of career options.

"Those cabinets they were making really caught my eye," Carrington said, describing the $80,000 cabinets she had watched being assembled, some with real golden-laid handles. "This is all so fascinating."

Creo said he might see some of the students who tour the facility again in a few years. Gulfstream hired one of the few internship students its had from Golden Isles Career Academy just after graduation.

"Obviously, it helps from a recruitment standpoint," Creo said. "When some of these kids who come through here graduate in four or five years, they'll come and say, 'OK Mike, I want to work for y'all now,' Creo said.

SBlt Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at slundgren@thebrunswicknews.com.



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