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So you want to build jet engines? Specialized training is here

December 06, 2018
Before Cedric Hall joined GE Aviation at the company’s plant in Auburn, Alabama, the leadership skills instilled by a six-year Marines Corp career encouraged him to strive for his best. The drive to keep improving is something he now brings to his current role in jet engine parts manufacturing, and that he also encourages colleagues to do.

“My biggest thing is always lending a helping hand. I always want to see people succeed on their goals,” Hall said. “I want to see people pursue more.”

After joining GE Aviation Auburn in 2014 to do processing work on turbine blades, company programs are now helping Hall build out his technical skill set—and further his leadership skills—for the future of aerospace manufacturing, he said.

He moved to a new position in the additive division of the Auburn facility in 2016, as soon as an opportunity became available. Eventually, Hall was promoted to the role of additive technical associate.

At GE Aviation Auburn, the team produces additively-made, also called 3-D printed, fuel nozzle tips for the LEAP engine. Work just recently began to also produce a new 3-D printed bracket for the GEnx-2B program.

GE Aviation Auburn Manufacturing Specialist Cedric Hall (left) shows a robotic tool to GE Aviation President and Chief Executive Officer David Joyce (middle) and GE Aviation Engineering Vice President and General Manager Gary Mercer (right). As traditional manufacturing processes move to automation, the new Technical Talent Development Program is helping GE Aviation’s manufacturing sites train people how to program technology such as automated equipment.

“I have real hands-on experience using the tools,” Hall said.

When GE Aviation introduced this year the new Technical Talent Development Program, which offers selected applicants specialized training and rotations across different manufacturing areas, the New Site, Alabama, native jumped on the chance to apply. The rotations will see him spending time learning robotics, CNC (Computer Numeric Control) machining and operations planning. With the training program now started, Hall has returned to the blades area of the Auburn facility as a manufacturing specialist, helping manage grinding operations for materials, quality and safety. He also works as technical support for other manufacturing associates on the GEnx engine program and CFM International engine programs, including the LEAP engine.

Even though his rotations will all be at the Auburn facility, the program still gives him a chance to network with participants in the Technical Talent Development Program from other GE Aviation locations, one of the key factors that made him want to apply.

“I see myself, over these three years I’m in the program, building all these skills I need to the end goal of being a technical leader,” he said.

Upon completion of the program, trainees will have the opportunity to apply to be a process engineer. In the meantime, Hall, the father of now one-year-old Cameron, is studying for a bachelor’s degree. He has already earned an associate degree with the help of GE Aviation’s tuition reimbursement program for employees, which also helped him qualify for the Technical Talent Development Program.

Ultimately, Hall would like to leverage his developing leadership and technical skills to manage machines and machine operators at one of the most advanced manufacturing sites in the country.

“As a technical leader, I would have the opportunity to influence others by giving them the proper technical resources, while still stepping in to get my hands dirty operating equipment to help fellow associates when needed,” Hall said.

The Technical Talent Development Program currently has seven participants at six different GE Aviation factories across the U.S. Recruiting for 2019 is underway with hopes to fill 20 spots across various supply chain sites.

With more than 1,000 entry-level and professional-level job openings currently at GE Aviation sites in just the U.S., specialized employee training programs are one of the ways GE Aviation is addressing the need for more qualified job applicants by preparing its workforce on needed skills.

“The TTDP is focused on providing a healthy mix of on-the-job and classroom training opportunities to help provide individuals in this program a solid foundation in which they can build upon following program graduation. Throughout the program, the experiences and training opportunities will be tailored to address current and/or future technical gaps the shops have self-identified,” said Brian Rohm, senior manufacturing manager for GE Aviation and the manager of the TTDP program.

Interested? External candidates can visit, and search job number 3191106.

Applicants are required to have a two-year degree in a related technical or engineering discipline.

Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that mill or cut away from a slab of metal to produce a part, additive manufacturing grows parts directly from a CAD file using layers of fine metal powder and an electron beam or laser.

LEAP engines are a product of CFM International, a 50/50 joint venture company between GE and Safran Aircraft Engines and the world’s leading supplier of commercial aircraft engines.

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GE Aerospace is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, as well as integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft.