BRIDGEPORT, W.Va. (WBOY) – Fairmont State University’s Aviation Center of Excellence and Career Development Center hosted a career fair for aviation students on Friday.

This was the first career fair that the university has had specifically for aviation students. Regional employers and students were invited to the Robert C. Byrd National Aerospace Education Center to discuss job opportunities for life after college.

There are a variety of jobs in aviation to make sure the planes do what they’re supposed to and get to where they are going. The fair had about 15 tables set up with recruiters from the aviation industry, military personnel, maintenance businesses, and pilot scouts.

Kevin Blaney, a senior management student at Fairmont State, set up the career fair as part of his senior project. He will be receiving his bachelor’s degree in November and hopes to enter the workforce right after college.

Blaney felt the fair was a great way for other students, as well as himself, to find networking opportunities with employers specific to their career area. He said, “They have an opportunity to know where they can go when this is over. One of the problems that we have, is a lot of students will get started and they’re really excited about going into a field, but yet, they don’t lay down those roots of where they can go and what they can do afterwards. This way, they can come, speak to people, and find out where they want to go when school is over. And that’s why we did this here.”

Kevin Blaney mid-interview (WBOY Image)

The management student did a “fly-in” in the Spring at the Fairmont airport. He had heard people mention that at the event that it was the most people they have seen at the airport. It struck Blaney’s mind to do something where aviation students could gather to speak with people with expertise in their field. He is very grateful for those who helped him get the fair up and running.

12 News reporter, Makayla Schindler, also had the opportunity to speak with a former student at Fairmont State who transitioned into the Senior Flight Instructor. Samuel Heitzman had been part of the aviation program since Fall of 2017 and graduated in April of 2021. He said that when he first started out in the program, it was a big learning curve. Heitzman began instructing his senior year, so it was nice to have a year to integrate himself into the position. “Getting paid by the same institution that you’re also paying to go to school at, that was pretty unique, but it was pretty seamless,” he said.

Samuel Heitzman mid-interview (WBOY Image)

Heitzman said that it was especially important for those who are spending tens of thousands of dollars on their education. He said that this career fair gives students the opportunity to see the jobs that are in their reach and helps them realize that their hard work, time, and money spent will be well worth it.

The next career fair at Fairmont State will be for all students, and will be held on March 17 between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. For more information or updates, you can click here.