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EFE Aviation Alumni Soars toward Meaningful Career

Erich Miner graduated from Parchment High School in 2016 with high honors and as a member of the National Honor Society. By the time he crossed the stage at commencement, he had also earned 13 college credits in aviation to Western Michigan University for free through the Kalamazoo RESA Education for Employment (EFE) Aviation Technology program.

During the Aviation Technology program, students develop a broad understanding of the aviation industry including airplane evolution, commercial aviation, flight operations and regulations, weather, airspace, navigation and so much more. Career possibilities include pilot, air traffic controller, astronaut, airframe and powerplant mechanic and more.

Upon completion of the program, Miner had also been recognized as an EFE Outstanding Senior, a scholarship program which awards EFE students based upon academic achievements, community involvement, extracurricular activities and future goals.

Miner recalls displaying a passion for aviation at a very early age. “My parents say I was only two years old when I started showing an interest in flying and airplanes. I was always looking for a way to learn more about flying in my classes,” he said. “When I found out I could get a two-year jump on learning about aviation by taking EFE courses, I knew right away that I had to do the program.”

Particularly impressed with the knowledge base exhibited by his instructor, Miner’s first semester was taught by Mr. George Philopolous. “Retired from the Navy, he was probably the most enthusiastic person I’ve ever met when it came to aviation. He loved telling stories about his time working with F-14 Tomcats on the aircraft carriers where he served.” He also spoke highly of Mr. Al Hollaway who “right away impressed me with his incredible experience and knowledge in flying, particularly in aircraft maintenance,” explained Miner.

Currently in his sophomore year at WMU, Miner is pursuing a double major in Aviation Management and Operations and Spanish, which he is confident will give him an additional leg-up in the industry. The EFE alumni also just finished his first year as a ramp agent with Delta Global Services at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek International Airport.

“I think the biggest advantage to the aviation program was that it provided me with a complete immersion into the industry,” said Miner. “I am convinced that I came into my freshman year at college better prepared and more exposed to the aviation industry than I ever would have without the EFE Aviation Technology program,” explained Miner. “I am truly grateful for what the course did for me and my career!”