a School2Work success story

Dino works for Vermont Flight Academy (VFA), a job he started in March 2023 after a tour and exploratory internship there. Dino currently cleans the planes, mostly Cessnas, but has also been training in plane maintenance. “I feel like I am a very good fit at VFA,” Dino said. “There are mechanics in the hangar, and I job shadow them. I help them out when they are in deep trouble, and when things are broken and need to be fixed. They tell me exactly what my role is and what needs to be done with an aircraft.”

Dino is also taking a plane maintenance course, and eventually will be involved in pilot training and practice. “I’m still a young adult, so I’m not sure what I’ll be doing after VFA,” he said. “One thing I will say though is that I am trying to get more maintenance experience and gain skills in flying. After that, I want to work as a commercial pilot for Delta Airlines.”  

School2Work Youth Employment Specialist Liz Underwood met with Dino when he was still a student at Burlington High School, and looked for ways to target Dino’s personal career interests. “I’ve had a passion for aviation since I was a kid in elementary school,” Dino said. “I grew up in the Balkans – Bosnia – so I flew often between there and America. I used to be scared of airplanes. When flying at night it looked like a space ship and I was afraid we would crash. Then I shifted my focus to the aircrafts themselves, and I have since studied aircrafts and designs.”  

A strong work ethic and thirst to constantly build his skills are part of Dino’s makeup. He participated in Unified Basketball as a Burlington H.S. Seahorse and, in his final season, was named M.V.P. while helping lead the team to an undefeated championship season. “I wanted to do basketball so badly,” Dino said. “Basketball is one of my favorite sports because it’s a good way to have fun and build skills.

At VFA, there is a flight simulator Dino has used, and he also gone airborne for three “Discovery Flights,” including one to Plattsburgh piloted by a maintenance colleague. While getting the feel for flying, Dino said, “ I have to listen to the flight instructor. There is a lot to pay attention to – we don’t want it to feel like a roller coaster!”

We’re confident Dino will pilot a smooth, steady climb.