VIPER Transitions Announces First Job Training Partnership

20 April 2021

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VIPER Transitions, a veteran-run job training program that equips service members transitioning from military to civilian life with resources and transferable skills for a successful career, has launched its first aircraft maintenance workforce program in partnership with AAR, a leading provider of aviation services for commercial and government customers worldwide.

AAR kicked off the new alliance with a $25,000 grant powered by the Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all, to help pay for tools and equipment to be used by participants. The program will include general aviation curriculum developed by the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) and a week each of airframe and powerplant instruction for a total of 480 hours. Graduates will either continue their training at an AIM campus or go to work at a partner company like AAR. The first cohort of an estimated 10-15 students will begin in May.

“Many of the skills our service men and women gain in the military do not transfer to the civilian workforce,” said Ryan Goertzen, Vice President, Maintenance Workforce Development, for AAR. “VIPER is a much-needed resource that fills the cracks that far too many of our veterans fall through after honorably serving their country. We’re proud to support VIPER and provide a pathway to middle-income earning careers.”

Participants will continue to receive active-duty benefits until they transition out of the military. The program will be conducted in a hangar at Ted Stevens Airport until VIPER Transitions can find a permanent home, said Kyle Kaiser, President of VIPER.

VIPER Transitions was established in 2018 to eliminate the leading causes of suicide among veterans, which averaged 17.6 per day that year, according to the 2020 National Veteran Suicide Prevention annual report.

“It’s designed to take anybody with any skill level,” said Kaiser, a veteran who served in the airborne infantry in the Army. “Our goal is to give them the tools to be successful in whatever career they choose.”

VIPER’s network of employers and training providers includes all the skilled trades, but this is the first program the nonprofit is starting from the ground up, he said. There is also a training program for developing leaders.


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