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Full Circle: From one Aircraft Maintenance Technician’s journey to inspiring the next generation

Piedmont Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) Caleb Rebeck recalls sitting in class at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) in Norfolk, Virginia and listening intently to former students speak about their post-graduation experience as new Piedmont AMTs.

The former students were successful graduates of Piedmont’s Tuition Payment Program (TPP), a program where Piedmont pays full tuition for selected aviation maintenance students and provides full-time employment upon completion of their federal certifications. Receiving encouragement from the graduates and hearing about their new careers is something that has always stayed with Caleb. Now a TPP graduate and Piedmont AMT himself, he makes a point to stop by his alma mater when he visits home to pass down his knowledge and experience with the next generation of Piedmont aviation maintenance technicians.

Once a month, Caleb visits AIM to engage with Piedmont’s current TPP students. “Now that I’m a Piedmont AMT, I’m taking the place of those who came before me to answer the student’s questions and share my own experience as an aircraft mechanic,” shares Caleb. “Some of the students I speak with will eventually become my colleagues and will be working at the same base where I work.”

Originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, Caleb grew up with a fascination of airplanes at a young age and had the opportunity to frequently visit an aviation museum near his home. “Everyone knows that pilots fly planes, but I never realized that being an aviation maintenance technician was a thing,” shares Caleb. Seeking a career in the industry, Caleb began working as a Stores clerk for a regional airline at Norfolk International Airport (ORF). He had always worked on cars and when he learned about Piedmont’s TPP program for aircraft maintenance, the thought of working on jet engines piqued his interest. Following the previous Stores clerk’s footsteps who also attended AIM, Caleb applied and started his twelve-journey to his AMT certifications in September 2022.

Caleb enjoyed diving into the world of aircraft maintenance and would often be the first one to class and stay late. As a TPP student, he received support from Piedmont’s Maintenance recruiters during his time at AIM. “I felt supported throughout my journey by the recruiters and it made a difference,” recalls Caleb. He is proud to say that he was the class lead and graduated with a 4.0 grade point average while working a part-time job. One year later, he had his airframe and powerplant certifications and a job as an AMT at Piedmont’s Salisbury, Maryland maintenance base.

“I like the small, close-knit environment in the hangar,” shares Caleb. “At my previous employer, I was just a number but here, I am part of a team.” Working closely with different people gives Caleb different perspectives as he works through the challenges of each overnight shift. Having his airframe and powerplant certifications means that he can do anything he is asked to do on the aircraft and admittedly, likes turning wrenches. Caleb has a sense of pride knowing that he has a part in getting our passengers to and from their destinations safely.

“I always worked on my own car and now I can tell people that I work on jet engines.” Caleb shares the TPP opportunity with everyone and has already referred two mechanics to Piedmont. He looks forward to more opportunities to advance and grow as a Piedmont AMT.

Your new career is on the horizon, and we look forward to having you join the Piedmont team as an aviation maintenance technician. Learn more about our Aircraft Maintenance Technician Tuition Payment Program.