Houston’s young people who dream of careers in aviation and aerospace are taken under the wing of the Houston Airport System with a new Aviation Club. Director of Aviation Mario C. Diaz dreamed of aviation when he was growing up in New York and found early exposure to the industry to become critical for his career path.
“As a teenager, I became fascinated with aviation and I enjoy the journey I experienced as first a pilot and later as an executive for airports in three major U.S. cities,” said Diaz. “The Aviation Club is poised to launch the passion for flying in the next generation of aviators and space pioneers.”
The ultimate goal is to build a new workforce to accept the challenges for tomorrow’s aviation and aerospace jobs. Houston continues to lead the nation in the creation of new jobs during a difficult economy. The effort to groom students for a bright future is essential to a strong Houston. The students in the first class of the Aviation Club were matched with a mentor who will follow them from graduation, into college and upon graduation with the hope of offering full-time work within the Houston aviation and aerospace community.
The Aviation Club launched in 2012 at two high school chapters and offers students meetings for learning, enrichment and mentoring activities. We grew the club through membership drives at the schools.
The new program has the following criteria: 1. Membership is open to HISD high school students from Sterling High School or Carnegie Vanguard High School campuses in grades 9-12. 2. Students must be in good standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5. 3. Students must maintain satisfactory attendance at meetings throughout the year. 4. Students have a desire and passion for exploring post secondary educational and career opportunities in aerospace or aviation.
Numerous community groups accepted the invitation from the Houston Airport System to participate and support the new Aviation Club. The sponsors include Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Texas Southern University, San Jacinto College, Lone Star College, Houston Independent School District, Sterling High School, Carnegie Vanguard High School, Bay Area Houston Economic Partnership, NASA - Johnson Space Center, and the City of Houston.
We recruited and trained mentors and assigned them to students. Mentors attend the meetings and support the students during entire school year.