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Company looking to hire more plane painters

January 13, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
There's good news for some job hunters: A nationwide company with a plant in Victorville is hiring. As Daniel Bridgeman fills out yet another job application, it's easy to lose hope. The unemployed painter has been out-of-work for a year and a half.

"Right now is just not a good time, especially up here, there's not many job opportunities at all," said Bridgeman.

But he's one of many painters hoping to get a fresh start at Leading Edge Aviation Services in Victorville.

The painters there aren't touching up homes or cars. They're prepping commercial airplanes, and they need a lot more help.

Because of recent airplane mergers, demand for this service is sky high.

"Really we're just trying to keep up with the demand, and it requires a lot of workers, we're a 24-hour a day operation," said Mike Manclark, CEO of Leading Edge Aviation Services.

Manclark said nearly half the people who applied for jobs in just the past week were hired.

"I'd say in this facility alone, we've probably hired 50 people just over the last week," said Manclark.

It takes painters working around the clock 11 days to fully paint a Boeing 777, and there aren't enough workers to move planes out fast enough.

"Every day almost, we're pushing out a new plane. We just got a new contract," said painter Ray Harvey.

Harvey said it's steady work, with a lot of overtime-- not something you hear a lot about right now.

"It's really good to have a job that I know is going to be steady work from now on, because I have a lot of friends who work construction and other jobs, and they're going, 'I'm laid off,' so on and so forth, because of the economy," said Harvey.

Leading Edge is still hiring. The qualifications for the aircraft painter position are: Junior secondary education certificate and certificate of professional competence in body work painting.