Amarillo College has graduated approximately 300 Bell employees over the past 11 years. New hires have a set routine in joining Bell’s workforce. Students earning their certificate in assembly are guaranteed an interview with the company.

Glen Phillips, Bell’s manager of employee training, said Bell considers the certificate the equivalent of a year of experience in aircraft assembly. He questions interviewees about their skills and knowledge in the process of drilling holes in composites, and about the consequences of delamination and how that flaw is detected.

Whitaker said the typical new worker will shadow a Bell employee for two weeks to learn specifics in both composite assembly and sheet metal assembly. With composites, he said, holes are first drilled with the proprietary carbide bits and then reamed to size.

For the next two weeks, the new hire is shadowed by the mentor before joining a regular crew.

To keep current with Bell’s practices and needs, Whitaker meets informally with Bell supervisors and adjusts the curriculum to account for new technologies and procedures as much as possible while staying within the college’s accreditation requirements.