OBAP Hosts Successful 39th Annual National Convention
The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals, OBAP, held their national convention in the Washington DC area August 12-14th.
Over 1700 Aviation Professionals and more than 200 volunteers joined together for the 39th annual convention that was held at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. The overall goal of the conference is to bring new people into the field of aviation. So how does OBAP do this? It goes well beyond just a yearly conference. They have many programs to help all people get into the field.
For starters, they are one of the largest sponsors of ACE (Aviation Career Education) camps. These camps are held in over 30 cities nationwide and help young people make decisions about their future in aviation. Next they have a Collegiate Series that is designed to help college students make the transition from college to career. This includes career development workshops, interview preparation and mentoring. There is a Military Transition Program as part of the conference that helps guide our military veterans into the civilian workplace. The organization also awards more than $200,000 a year in scholarships.
“It’s all about creating opportunities” said Captain James Gordon, the Chairman of the organization. “Once we have achieved our own career goals, we need to reach back and help others.”
The convention itself is one of the largest aerospace fairs in the nation. It drew over 30 aviation companies into one room to help people research and even apply for the aviation career of their choice. Five individuals were inducted into the OBAP Hall of Fame on the second day of the convention. On top of that, there were daily forums designed to help people better their applications and interview techniques. 75% of convention admission goes to programs and outreach, which is what this organization is all about.
With a conference this size it’s sometimes hard to see and do everything. So which part of the convention is most important to the organizers? “Youth Day is by far my favorite,” said Grant Walker, Chairman of the Convention. “It’s so neat to see middle and high school students so focused on achieving their own aviation goals!”
Unfortunately my own aviation career forced me away from the convention before I could take part in youth day, but the conference has inspired me to reach back and help others. I have since volunteered for my own local ACE camp, and hopefully have helped some young person realize their dreams of an aviation profession. For information and how you can reach back, check out the OBAP website.