In this month’s episode, “Booming Aviation, Engineering and Management Job Markets: How Vaughn is Answering the Call,” Dr. Sharon B. DeVivo, president of Vaughn College and host of the podcast, Futureproof Focus, sat down with her colleague, Chaundra Daniels, director of career services, for an enlightening discussion about the booming job market in aviation, engineering and management, and how Vaughn is preparing its students to gain the competitive edge for landing positions in these in-demand fields

Daniels setting the pace for student success

With less than one year in her position as Vaughn’s director of career services, Daniels has brought a fresh perspective to the department by implementing innovative programs that are changing the face of student/employee relations. For more than 20 years, she has devoted her career to helping others develop their professional paths and employer relations skills. “Vaughn is the place to be,” said Daniels. “My passion is helping students find their passion and dream job.”

How Vaughn’s degree programs are fueling the job market

Dr. DeVivo opened the discussion by stating how Vaughn prepares its students for some of today’s most in-demand jobs. With hiring at record-setting levels in the fields of aerospace, aviation and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), she emphasized how Vaughn graduates have acquired the skills and are well-positioned to land careers in these booming job markets.

Daniels was excited to report that jobs in these fields are “pouring in.” “There is no shortage of jobs in our industry,” she said. “Employers are seeking out our students, knowing the value and credentials a Vaughn student brings to their company. This is the opportune time to be a Vaughn student.”  She further stated that Boeing just recently hired four of the College’s students. Daniels emphasized how—in addition to the job openings in the aforementioned fields—aviation maintenance technician jobs are also a crucial position being actively recruited now. “These technicians work behind the scenes to ensure the airplanes are safe to fly. Jobs like these—and others—are available across the board.”

Preparing students for success

Daniels was proud to say that Vaughn students are career-driven. “They know why they are here and what career they want for their future,” she said. And the College’s career services department is the hub where it all begins. “It’s important to engage with students early on—in their freshmen and sophomore years,” she said. “By working with them early, we can help them address any of their fears and sharpen their communication and networking skills.” Daniels explained the importance of meeting students where they are. “We want them to feel comfortable being able to present themselves and their skillset.” She went on to say that the career services department works with students to achieve these goals by offering an open-door policy that is designed around their schedules. This way, students can receive help with résumé development and interview preparation, among other career support tasks.

Making connections with Vaughn’s programs and partnerships

Preparing students for success is only one part of Vaughn’s mission. Helping them make the right connections to land their dream jobs is what Daniels does best. Employer Engagement Days—a program which she spearheaded—and other partnerships are helping Vaughn students land internships and jobs in their fields.

Employer Engagement Days

Last spring, Daniels kicked off Employer Engagement Days as a new initiative to streamline the employer engagement process for Vaughn students and industry leaders who are looking to hire. She explained how work is about building relationships and that these one-on-one meetings are proving successful for both employers and students who were seeking a more efficient and convenient way to meet by accommodating the schedules of both parties. “I developed Employer Engagement Days as a way to get employers back on campus after the pandemic,” Daniels said. She explained that the process is more casual and less stressful, thus allowing representatives from corporations to interview students on an individual basis—without the pressure and time constraints of traditional large networking events and career fairs. Employer Engagement Days helps to level the playing field, as it removes the competition and gives both the student and employer the time needed to determine if they are a good fit for each other.

JetBlue’s ‘University Gateway’ Pilot Pathway Program

Last summer, Vaughn partnered with JetBlue Airways as part of the airlines’ University Gateway Pilot Pathway Program. This groundbreaking, first-of-its-kind program allows aircraft operations students who attend Aviation Accreditation Board International (AABI) accredited institutions—such as Vaughn—to apply and interview for positions at JetBlue as they completed their college courses. You can check out the JetBlue University Gateway program requirements on the website.

LaGuardia Gateway Partners

Earlier this year, LaGuardia Gateway Partners approached Vaughn to set up an internship program where students could gain experience in the industry. “Early onset industry experience is so important,” Daniels stated. “Internship programs such as this is just another way Vaughn prepares its students and offers them opportunities for a successful future.”

Professional Development Workshop Series

Daniels is passionate about helping students build the confidence and resilience they need to present themselves in the best possible light and articulate who they are. Here are some of the ways in which career services helps students to achieve these goals:

  • Industry résumé building
  • Effective interviewing
  • Networking and conferences

Dr. DeVivo added that the student experience offered at Vaughn sets the College apart from other institutions. “We support our students emotionally, financially and socially,” she said. “These programs and conferences are great pathways to their careers.”

The industry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

Dr. DeVivo stated that over the last several years, Vaughn has seen companies commit to hiring individuals from diverse backgrounds. Daniels replied that it isn’t as much about how employees are meeting diversity as we know it, but it should be regarded rather as a “diversity of thought.” She explained that—from a humanity perspective—it’s all about hiring the best person for the job. “Diversity is not easy,” Daniels said. “It’s a communication and personality issue. If employers seek candidates based on what they bring to the table—their unique talents—they’ll win every time.”

Dr. DeVivo’s tip of the month

Dr. DeVivo concluded the conversation with a wrap-up tip of the month: “The key to landing a great career is seizing opportunities early by establishing relationships with employers as part of your educational journey.”

You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here.

Thinking about becoming a pilot? Read about why now is the best time to pursue your degree.

Does your passion lie STEM-related fields? Read why Gen Z students are choosing STEM as a top career choice.

Want to learn more about becoming an aviation technician? Read why aviation maintenance degrees are fueling great career opportunities.

Careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) are among the top choices of Generation Z (Gen Z) students, according to the 2022 Career Interest Survey, which was conducted earlier this year by The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS). Read on to learn the factors that are driving these high-achieving students to pursue careers in these in-demand industries and how Vaughn College has the degree programs and partnerships to get them there.

Who are Gen Zs?

Members of Generation Z are individuals who were born after 1997. They are considered the most diverse American generation and are larger than any preceding age group. At more than 90 million members, the oldest Gen Z members are 25 years old. So, why is this generation choosing STEM fields as their top career choices? Let’s find out.

Why are Gen Zs choosing STEM careers?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand in STEM fields is projected to grow by 10.5 percent over the next eight years. The survey revealed how students are shifting their focus from degrees in education, the arts and legal studies and opting to major in fields where they can make an impact on the economy and the world—such as in STEM-related jobs and healthcare. Another finding revealed that not only is the STEM field the number one career choice among respondents, but it continues to grow particularly among female and black students. Careers in these in-demand fields bring job security, high-paying salaries and room for advancement, thus making the degrees more appealing.

Check out our blog, “Engineering Ranked Among Most Valuable College Majors,” to learn why engineering and STEM-related majors top the list as being among the most valuable degrees.

What factors matter most

The survey revealed the goals, preferences and attitudes of high achieving high school and college-aged individuals, as well as their feelings toward employment and career aspirations. As stated earlier, the diverse nature of members of Gen Z places them in a unique category where equity for all is a priority. In fact, more than one-fifth (22 percent) of respondents said their own experiences with racial inequality influenced their career choices, and one-third fluently speak a language other than English. Here are some of the factors that matter most to the Gen Z group when looking for their first full-time job is concerned:

Professional growth
  • Provide in-person training
  • Opportunity to learn skills for the purpose of career advancement
  • Pathway to promotion
  • Professional development opportunities
Personal preferences
  • Reflect and respect diversity
  • Fair treatment of all employees across all genders and races
  • Offer employer flexibility
  • Display corporate social responsibility
  • Have a boss who is like a mentor
  • Upper management must have good communication skills

Listen to our latest podcast featuring Vaughn alumna Kirei Watson ’18 (mechanical engineering major) and how she broke down barriers to land and excel in her job as a rotational program engineer at Collins Aerospace.

How can a Vaughn degree get you there?

Another key takeaway from the survey is the discovery of the love of learning among the Gen Z group—especially when it comes to hands-on training. At Vaughn College, our degree programs in engineering and technology, computer engineering and aviation offer students the best of both worlds: Lecture instructions by professors with real-world experience and hands-on instruction where students put what they’ve learned to work. In fact, the rapid advancements in technology are making these degrees some of the most sought-after by today’s college-bound students. And were you aware that aviation degrees can fall under a STEM-related focus in some instances? Today’s staffing shortage crisis in the aviation industry is increasing the demand for jobs across the board.

Check out our blog, “Virtual and Augmented Reality Shape the Future of the Aviation Industry,” to learn how immersive technologies are a billion-dollar gamechanger in the aviation market.

Vaughn provides invaluable industry connections and experiences

Vaughn is committed to the success of its students. By providing invaluable programs like Employer Engagement Days, Open House and Info. Session events, career fairs, speaker series and our Computer Engineering Summer Boot Camp, Vaughn goes above and beyond to ensure that its students have the opportunities and access to industry leaders who are ready to hire. Here are some industry giants, federal agencies and airports that actively recruit Vaughn students:

  • Atlas Air
  • Boeing
  • Cyient
  • Delta
  • Endeavor Air
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Jet Blue Airways
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport
  • LaGuardia Gateway Partners
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Metro-North Railroad
  • NASA
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
  • Pratt & Whitney
  • SpaceX
  • Sikorsky
  • Textron Aviation
  • United Airlines
  • Volvo

What is NSHSS?

The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) is an acclaimed academic honor society which recognizes and serves high achieving student scholars in more than 26,000 high schools across 170 countries. These academically outstanding students represent the most promising diverse talent for the emerging workforce and their communities.

About the survey

The survey revealed the opinions and insights of over 11,000 of the highest achieving high school students, college students and recent college graduates who represent Gen Z in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. military bases overseas and U.S. territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Are you ready to be a part of the next generation of professionals in the emerging STEM-related industry? A degree from Vaughn can make your dream a reality. Apply today!