Any tips on learning just the skills I need to learn to complete this project would be greatly appreciated as well.
Nope. There are too many fundamentals to learn just to get to the point of completing a project, even a simple one. There are too many ways AE can hose you. A newcomer's step-by-step procedure to do what you describe would go far beyond the scope of a simple forum post.
In short, AE ain't no one-trick pony. That's why Mylenium included that link.
Thank you. I might just hire an animator.
If you're brand-new to AE and you have to budget to hire someone AND the project needs to be completed in a reasonable period of time, that's a wise idea.
AE can do a lot of things, but it takes time to learn.