WILMINGTON — One of the county’s largest employers and its only four-year, higher education entity are partners in a mutually beneficial relationship whose success provides a windfall for the local economy.
Representatives from Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) were on Wilmington College’s campus late in the Spring Semester for a series of activities designed to connect WC students and faculty with members of its leadership team. ATSG is unique as a world leader for companies that offer a bundle of services for midsize freighters, including leasing, air express operations, heavy maintenance, freighter conversions and logistics services.
In addition to touring the campus and meeting with administrators and faculty members, several ATSG officials spoke in business classes and met with individual students about both internship and employment opportunities.
Dr. Nina Talley, WC’s director of career services, welcomed the partnership and the opportunities it presents for students. Indeed, she noted that ATSG, like many area employers, have confidence in higher education and the value of a college degree.
“As the critical demand for skilled college graduates continues, Generation Z represents the future talent pipeline to organizations,” she said. “Organizations are seeking young talent to supply their critical labor needs for the future. To employers, broad skills matter and a liberal education provides the skills and knowledge they view as important for career success.”
The WC/ASTG partnership is designed to introduce the corporation to the potential human resources available locally and to enhance the College’s hallmark for hands-on learning opportunities.
Ed Koharik, ATSG’s chief operating officer, noted that, “As we continue to integrate more technology across our operations, our workforce requirements are changing, so we are excited to work with Wilmington College to help develop graduates that are ATSG career ready.”
The county benefits when talented young graduates decide to stay in the community after graduation, preventing the so-called “brain drain” to larger metropolitan centers.
Indeed, ATSG’s chief legal officer, Joe Payne, said, “We have a commitment to our community and to developing our employees and we see Wilmington College being as a part of that commitment for both.”
Mike Berger, ATSG’s chief commercial officer, was impressed with WC’s students almost from the moment he stepped foot on campus and met sophomore student ambassador Shelby Blake, as he spoke about the growth of the company’s relationship with WC.
“Our internship program with Wilmington College has been a cornerstone to growing the breadth of our marketing efforts over the last two years.” Berger said.
“In fact, the energy and knowledge of our student guide was so incredible I wanted to hire her on the spot!”
For many of the ATSG officials like Payne, that was their first comprehensive visit to Wilmington College.
“I was impressed with the layout and the overall size of the campus,” he said. “The state-of-the-art class settings give you a big campus feel but the historic buildings provide small college comfort.”
One of the College officials who helped facilitate ATSG’s visit was Tom Brady, director for development for Ohio, who said the College is excited about its developing partnership with ATSG, as the entities represent two of the community’s “foundational pillars” of education and business, respectively.
“Their recent campus visit is but one of what we expect will be many mutually beneficial activities with the College in the coming months,” Brady said, noting that ATSG is a key economic driver in the community that sees Wilmington College as a great resource to their operations.
“This is evidenced by the company’s interest in providing employment and internship opportunities to our students and graduates, and how it would serve to keep talented individuals in the community,” he added. “The College thanks ATSG’s team for its enthusiastic encounters with WC students, faculty and staff.”