The grant will be used to provide space in a new hangar at the Tri-Cities Airport (KTRI) and secure FAA Airframe and Powerplant program certification. The ultimate goal is to build a “reliable workforce pipeline of trained and certified aviation maintenance professionals,” according to college officials.
Plans include building a new aircraft hangar at the airport, acquiring instructional equipment, improving program outreach, revising curriculum, and creating jobs.
“There is a tremendous need nationwide for aviation mechanics and technicians, so this is wonderful news for the college and its economic partners,” said Dr. Bethany Flora, Northeast State president. “The grant will greatly expand our Aviation Technology program and grow workforce development opportunities throughout the region and beyond.”
Over three years, the project will serve eight businesses, while training 72 community college students. The project is also a prerequisite for the success of the Tri-Cities Airport Aerospace Park, which envisions creating up to 2,000 jobs in the aviation maintenance and manufacturing sector, according to officials.
The Tri-Cities Airport Authority will provide additional funding of more than $500,000 for the project.
The grant is one of 54 totaling $44.4 million via ARC’s Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization (POWER) initiative to help communities and regions that have been affected by job losses in coal mining, coal power plant operations, and coal-related supply chain industries.
Students entering the program at Northeast State learn skills associated with the repair and installation of aviation electronics, aircraft structures, and aircraft mechanical systems. Students also develop core skills in fuselage and sheet metal repair, electrical systems, hydraulics, and aircraft repair.
The two-year degree program requires students to complete 63 credit hours of core curriculum courses and aviation-specific courses. The college also offers a 29-credit-hour technical certificate, which has also established a pathway for TCAT students with A&P certifications to earn an associate degree.