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Gulfstream, Quick Start and Savannah Technical College team up to prepare aerospace workforce

When Gulfstream Aerospace announced a $400 million expansion of its Savannah operation in 2006, the company knew the market was there for its aircraft. The concern was whether the workers needed to build them would be.

A collaboration among Quick Start, Savannah Technical College and Gulfstream has helped alleviate that concern.

“When we announced the facility’s expansion, we knew that we would be hiring a lot of entry-level individuals,” said Ashley Samuels, Gulfstream’s workforce development manager. “So we partnered with Quick Start and Savannah Tech to create training opportunities for local individuals so they would have the skills needed to take advantage of the opportunities at Gulfstream.”

Gulfstream has manufactured aircraft in Savannah since 1967. The new expansion includes a massive new 570,000-square-foot service center in addition to new paint and manufacturing facilities. With that kind of growth — and with a four-year waiting list for its aircraft — Gulfstream had no time to lose building the team that would build its product. To get the workforce training started right away, Quick Start’s training professionals met with the Gulfstream team to define the core competencies needed for various positions. Meanwhile, Savannah Tech prepared a diverse set of Technical Certificate of Credit programs to address long-term workforce needs of the aviation and aerospace industry that is booming in the Savannah area.

“Anyone who completes one of these programs at Savannah Tech also gets the Quick Start training on team building, communications, safety, cabinet building and interior installation so they can have the knowledge and skills before they come to Gulfstream,” Samuels added.

“The goal is for everyone to go through the Quick Start program,” said Carmen Smoker, workforce development coordinator. “We’ve noticed a difference from the students who have been through the Quick Start program and those who haven’t when they come in for the interview. They just present themselves better overall."

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