Philly airport hoping to attract young professionals for technical careers

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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Philadelphia International Airport holds a career day for students interested in technical careers.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Philadelphia International Airport played host to a group of high school students on Tuesday, because one day, those kids might be members of the airport's workforce.

It takes more than 20,000 people to run PHL, from bus drivers, to pilots, to operations workers like Kyle Owens.

Owens gave a behind the scenes tour of the airfield to a group of high school students from Mercy Career and Technical High School and Universal Audenreid Charter High School.

"This is the main gate we bring all of our contractors through," he explained as the tour bus went into the airfield.

The airport is hoping these kids will be future candidates for a new apprenticeship program for technical careers.

"We're being very proactive and making sure that the rising generation of workforce knows what's out there and that we're here to provide those opportunities," said Jonathan Todd, the director of workforce development for the airport.

The airport says part of the issue it's facing is nearly half of the city's skilled laborers, 48 percent to be exact, are over the age of 50. In order to avoid what they're calling a "silver tsunami" of retirement, they're trying to attract and train young people now.

"I was thinking carpentry but probably aviation now," high school junior Nathan Myers said after the tour. "The trade business is dying down big time and there are not a lot of kids coming up filling those shoes. So I'm trying to be one of those kids that grows up and fills them."