Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Atlantic County will partner with Atlantic Cape Community College to develop training programs for aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) technicians that will support the development of the aviation industry in Atlantic County. Aviation was identified as one of several strategic industries in the Atlantic County Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan prepared by an independent consultant.
“We have had ongoing discussions with several airlines who are interested in developing the Atlantic City International Airport as an aircraft maintenance center,” said County Executive Dennis Levinson.
This initiative is fully supported by the South Jersey Transportation Authority which operates and maintains Atlantic City International and is committed to expanding commercial carrier use of the airport.
“We have the facility and the interest. What we are lacking is a professionally trained workforce to support this field,” Levinson said. “We plan to take advantage of our assets to build an aviation industry. This is yet another step in that direction that should bring good paying jobs to our region and help us diversify our economy beyond gaming.”
A 2015 Boeing technical outlook forecasts the need for more than 609,000 maintenance technicians during the next 17 years.
“We recognize this and are teaching to the need,” said Levinson. “As Buckminster Fuller so wisely advised, ‘If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.’”The Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul Training Academy would prepare students for FAA certification and provide a foundation for an associate of applied science degree in aviation maintenance with the ability to transfer into a variety of four-year programs.
The county and the college have signed a memorandum of understanding to codify this mutual effort. The college will develop the education component with technical support and cooperation from the county over the next 18 months. Both organizations will work to secure funding for implementation and operation of an FAA-approved program.
“We see this as a tremendous opportunity and are very appreciative of Atlantic Cape President Dr. Barbara Gaba and her team for their shared vision in moving this forward,” added Levinson. “Aviation maintenance and repair technician careers should appeal to both our youth as well as those who may be currently underemployed or unemployed.”
“The combination of an aviation MRO training academy and the commitment of the SJTA for greater use of the airport should have a positive impact on the economic development of our region,” he concluded.