ESCANABA —  Around 60 students in Delta County gathered this afternoon to learn more about unique – and potentially local – career paths.

The Delta County Aviation Business Connect education seminar was a collaborative event put on by the Delta County Economic Development Alliance Michigan Works, and Textron Aviation. The goal was to expose students from nearby ISD programs to the variety of jobs available in aviation.

“We structured a day around education and business connections in the aerospace industry,” said Vicki Schwab of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance.

“Our main goal is for our students to start thinking beyond, a little bit more, about what they can do within aviation,” said Suani Nieto, assistant manager at the Delta County Airport. “Aviation marketing, aviation administration, manufacturing, any type of health services… aviation could be a part of the career path they’re looking for.”

Much of the day focused on aircraft maintenance, where local opportunities for both certification and work exist.

“You turn into a little bit of a salesman because you have to sell these things to the customer so you end up being a salesman,” said Mark Yankovich, owner of M&M Aviation. “You end up being an accountant because you have to track what you’re doing as far as time and how much money you’re going to charge and all your costs and all your parts. There’s a lot of detail and there’s a lot of things that you have to do and the biggest thing is you have to work with the public.”

“There’s all sorts of career paths that you can go through,” said Mark Matteson, an aviation professor at Northern Michigan University. “Now is the time to start looking at it. You might find that you really don’t want to do aviation and that’s ok. But if you find out that you do, we need you.”

High schoolers had a chance to hear from a number of presenters in addition to seeing aircraft first hand.