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Pompeo, Ivanka Trump Discuss Aviation Training Opportunities In Wichita

Carla Eckels

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and presidential adviser Ivanka Trump took part in a roundtable discussion Thursday at WSU Tech about the importance of acquiring more skilled workers for the aviation industry.

Trump is co-chair of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a panel that includes Sheree Utash, president of  WSU Tech. Utash said the board advises the federal goverment on how to improve the education, training and retraining for American workers.

Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

Utash said the two-year school is focused on how to get enough people recruited, trained, educated and transitioned into the aviation  companies for well-paying jobs that drive the local economy. It operates the National Center for Aviation Training on North Webb Road, the site of today's event.

Trump said she was pleased to learn of the new education and training opportunities in Wichita.

"Meeting with the individuals like those at this table and out in the audience who are affected by the policies that are being placed and learning how we can do more and better and what you are doing here, really raises the bar for all of us and educators across the country," she said.

Pompeo says you can't get far without a skilled workforce .

"And that's exactly what the Trump Administration is focused on with our pledge to America's workers," he said. "We're maximizing America's talent, and we are equipping workers ... for good American jobs."

Tom Gentile, president and CEO of Spirit AeroSystems, and Ron Draper, president and CEO of Textron Aviation of Wichita also participated in the roundtable. Representatives from Airbus Americas, J.R. Custom Metal Products and Bombardier Wichita were in attendance.

Trump and Pompeo later toured Textron Aviation, where they were joined by Sen. Jerry Moran of Kansas and U.S. Rep. Ron Estes.

Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.


Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.