FBLA Visits Baldor, 188th Wing

Christy Acosta

Members of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) toured Baldor Industries and the 188th Fighter Wing at Ebbing Air National Guard Base in late April. In order to go, students had to have good grades.

“The chief benefit of the tour was so that students are exposed to as many career paths as possible,” Mrs. Wilbanks, sponsor, said. “For example, students may know that Baldor is a manufacturing plant, but they don’t always realize that Baldor employs engineers, accountants, and sales representatives. The same goes for the 188th. You don’t need to be a pilot to have a career there. Pilots are a very small percentage of their employees.”

The students gained knowledge at Baldor.

“What I learned about Baldor is that they make motors, and they are the best at it,” Eriel West, 8th, said. “That’s important because now I know who makes motors, and I have an idea of how they are made. What I enjoyed the most was getting free candy.”

Working at Baldor has its perks.

“I learned that when you work at Baldor, they will help pay for your college degree,” Tatyanna Bassett, 9th, said. “I also learned that not all workers work on the plant floor. Those upstairs work on business stuff.”

Another benefit is the paycheck.

“I learned that the workers at Baldor make a lot of money,” Dearrah Mays said.

At the 188th Fighter Wing, students learned about career paths such as civil engineering and security forces and piloting the MQ-9 “Reaper.”

“I learned that the military is a good career path because you can go to college while being in the military,” Justin Maymoundok, 9th, said.

Students chimed in on what their favorite part of the industry tour was.

“What I enjoyed most at the 188th was when we played this game where you basically did things that the Air Force people do,” Tatyanna said.

For others, technology had the biggest appeal.

“I enjoyed seeing the cool technology and the flying simulation dome,” Justin said.

Many loved the MQ-9.

“The students seemed to enjoy the remote control fighter simulation at the 188th the most,” Mrs. Wilbanks said. “To many of them, it was similar to video games that they are used to playing. That was my favorite part too!”

See the 188th Wing’s photo slideshow and read the cutlines about our visit:

Fort Smith Kimmons Jr. High learn about career opportunities at the 188th