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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 3, 2021

Insights from first generation of Aviation Rating Apprentice Program graduates 

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard Aviation Technical Training Center (ATTC) Elizabeth City in North Carolina recently graduated the first generation of aviation technicians from the newly developed aviation apprentice program. The Aviation Rating Apprentice Programs (RAP) incorporate blended learning delivery techniques designed to enhance the avionics electrical technician (AET) and aviation maintenance technician (AMT) A-school experience.  

The first set of graduates completed their A-school training last fall and graduated in December 2020. 

The new course of instruction includes a 10-week non-resident training period in a virtual classroom that is centrally managed from Elizabeth City by ATTC instructors. After completing their permanent change of station orders, students spend their non-resident period engaged in blended learning courses that consist of e-learning modules, discussion boards, and self-study materials designed to give them the fundamental knowledge required to succeed in resident training.  

Because students complete their on-line training while physically at their new air station, they also participate in hands-on apprentice level training with their new crews gaining the context, familiarity, and confidence. Once the non-resident course is complete, students then travel to ATTC on temporary duty to continue their studies with a focus on performance-based learning in a lab or on aircraft mock-ups. 

Success in the RAP is all about communication, mentorship, and a positive attitude, while taking full advantage of the opportunities in front of you.  

“We are given the chance to get familiar with our new units and get our feet wet by doing work around the hangar deck and on our specific airframe,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class, Hunter G. Morris, now at Coast Guard Sector San Diego.   

Working while also training results in the effort of completing two tasks at once, “using the computer…because every bit of maintenance that the students completed, big or small, is logged into Asset Logistics Management Information System (ALMIS),” Morris said about how training benchmarks are logged during on-the-job learning.  

“Every job makes a difference to the mission and being part of the first classes to go through the RAP program and being able to pave the way for future generations of aviators was an honor,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class, Jacob P. Flannery now an aviation electronics technician.  

“Aviation is a career, and RAP is the first steppingstone into Coast Guard aviation. Be ready to learn and persevere,” Flannery said about how future RAP students should prepare. 

At ATTC, success is not a destination, but a continuous process, and the RAP is no exception.  

“There are modules that will need to be updated, for instance rating performance qualifications (RPQs) necessitate change. Those drive what we teach and ensure the students are learning what is required in the field. Additionally, the ATTC staff will continue refining and improving the lessons based on student, instructor, and fleet feedback,” added Lt. Cmdr. Hunter D. Blue, the ATTC Performance Systems Branch Officer at the Elizabeth City based program.  

Forged in response to the COVID-19 crisis as a broad mitigation strategy to keep our workforce safe, RAP has proven itself as an effective training tool.  

“Due to its positive impact on learning, I believe the RAP is here to stay,” Blue said. “It’s effective from an instructional standpoint; allows students to do tasks at their unit, gaining a better understanding of what they are doing, why it’s important, and how it directly transfers to their workplace.”   

A duty station relocation occurs around the same time that training begins. “It’s good to start forming a transition plan sooner, rather than later, so you have housing and storage secured so you can focus on training,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Eva M. Davison, speaking about her relocation to Air Station Sacramento for on the job training.