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Department of Administration

Office of Communications

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 14, 2018

Atlantic County Awarded Statewide Innovation Grant

Atlantic County has been awarded a $100,000 grant to advance plans for the creation of an aviation and technical academy at the Atlantic City International Airport. The award is from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s inaugural Innovation Planning Challenge.
“This is yet another positive step in the development of an aviation industry that will serve to diversify our regional economy,” stated Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson. “This grant along with the recent $120,000 grant award to our Atlantic County Economic Alliance for the implementation of an aviation strategy will allow us to leverage our assets at the Atlantic City Airport and the FAA Technical Center to attract new business and meet workforce demands.”

“These efforts directly correlate with Governor Murphy’s focus on bringing innovation and technology jobs to New Jersey,” said Levinson, “and his interest in the state reclaiming its prominence as a global leader in innovation.”

The $100,000 award will assist in developing the Atlantic County Aviation and Technical Academy that will help meet a growing national and local demand for aviation mechanics. A study conducted by Boeing estimates the need for an additional 650,000 maintenance technicians over the next two decades. The skills acquired at the academy will also be applicable to wind turbine maintenance and repair.

“Having a pool of highly skilled aviation and technical professionals earning salaries above the national average will improve the health of the local economy and benefit the entire region by spurring investment in this and other industries and increased spending for housing, retail and entertainment,” added Levinson.

“We are also encouraged by the possibility of working with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s premier aviation and aerospace institution,” he said. “We have met with their representatives to discuss a role for the university in the academy for which they have expressed a genuine interest.”

According to Lauren Moore, Executive Director of the Atlantic County Economic Alliance, “Our vision has grown beyond the development of the National Aviation Research and Technology Park to the creation of an aviation and technology industry triangle that encompasses the Atlantic County aviation district, the Joint Base McGuire-Dix airbase and the Cape May County Airport and Tech Village.”

“Building and supporting an aviation industry is good business for Atlantic County and the entire state,” said Moore. “We are extremely excited at the prospects.”

“The Atlantic County Aviation and Technical Academy will fill a significant void. There is currently no facility in the region with the kind of partnerships we have to provide a trained workforce and address the current and emerging needs of New Jersey’s aviation industry,” Levinson concluded.

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