Warner Robins, Ga. – What came about as nothing more than a woman’s mechanical intuition, sparked a 17-year career in the male-dominated field of aviation maintenance (AVMT) for Central Georgia Technical College (CGTC)’s first female program instructor, Deanne Corbin.
Corbin, a former student at the College, started her journey through the Aerospace, Trade and Industry program in the late 90’s at CGTC in Macon. This happened just as the then, pre-merger, Middle Georgia Technical College Aviation Maintenance program in Warner Robins got off the ground.
“I just always have been more mechanically inclined instead of a caregiver type person,” Corbin said. “I did not like blood and all that, so I did not choose nursing or cosmetology type profession and those were really the programs women typically entered.”
Corbin saw the AVMT program as an opportunity to scratch a mechanical itch, beginning courses in 2000 in Warner Robins. She finished the program in 2001 and earned a FAA Airframe & Powerplant license that led her to employment with Atlantic Southeast Airlines and Bombardier Aircraft Services.
As the AVMT program celebrated 20 years in March 2018, it increasingly recognizes the role a female instructor can have on women’s involvement and progression through one of the most vital career programs for Georgia’s workforce. Corbin had been with CGTC since 2017 in a full-time instructional aide lab assistant role, before taking the position as an instructor, and now adds to the hangar an industry savvy to go along with her ‘woman’s touch.’
“Women are better at filing their fingernails than men are,” Corbin said. “So when it comes to having to file a prop or something, it just seems to come out neater, cleaner. To me, we are used to taking that extra care.”
Corbin’s hire is as much historic as it is potentially meteoric. Her presence provides a hope that more women will pursue this career. Her presence could launch a significant impact to the sustainment of the industry.
Suddenly a program that has seen minimal participation from females now has a boost.
Kashatriya Eason is a director for the Special Populations Office at CGTC, the branch of the College that helps track student participation and navigation into non-traditional career programs for their gender.
She said so much of a students’ willingness to enroll in a non-traditional career program happens based on their personal interests irrespective of society’s gender stereotypes, “living their truths, by what they want to do.” Eason added that identifying with an instructor, such as Corbin could give female students an example of their gender’s success.
“Enrolling in a non-traditional career program allows a student to break down barriers for other students,” Eason said. “They can help others see that any gender is capable of doing any job. There will be challenges just like any program; however, if he or she is persistent and diligent then the reward is the completion.”
Corbin said she wants to see more than a handful of women in her career field, if for no other reason than the tremendous opportunities.
One of the opportunities recently announced by the program includes a year-to-year partnership with global industry leader, Delta Air Lines TechOps, adding to an already established partnership with Robins Air Force Base (Robins AFB) which announced in August, 1,200 new jobs coming to the base including careers in aviation maintenance.
Delta Air Lines TechOps became involved with CGTC and other partner institutions to prepare and support its training professionals in curriculum development and increasing knowledge and ability of students for an easier transition into careers with the company. In turn, the College will continue to prepare its students with practice and training and will identify top-performing students from Delta-established criteria.
CGTC has been a “pipeline” for employment to Robins AFB for many of the area’s top aviation maintenance talent.
When Corbin is not instructing she enjoys shopping, “just like any other woman,” she said and being a mother and grandmother. As her kids are older now, the excitement of a mom who works on airplanes has faded to her grandson. Still, her own passion for the career remains and she looks forward to all she can do to prepare future mechanics.
For more information about the Aviation Maintenance program at CGTC, visit www.centralgatech.edu/
[Photo]: Deanne Corbin is CGTC’s first female instructor in the Aviation Maintenance program’s 20-year history.