Marshall University is set to receive $1 million in federal funding aimed at increasing the university’s ability to provide an increased workforce in aviation for the area.
A 5-year-award to the Marshall University Division of Aviation will help diversify the region’s economy while providing an increased workforce in an ever-expanding industry full of opportunities for the area. The money will help the Aviation Maintenance program at Tri-State Airport train airplane mechanics to work on airplanes in their backyard and worldwide.
The new Aviation Maintenance Technology program is the first of its kind in the region and offers a joint associate degree from both Marshall University and Mountwest Community and Technical College. The program also offers FAA certification and numerous micro credentials.
Marshall University President Brad D. Smith says the $1 million will help the aviation maintenance program provide a new outlet for employment in the area.
“The Division of Aviation at Marshall University is meeting a significant market need for pilots and aviation technicians, Smith said. “As this new generation of aviation experts is being educated, it’s imperative that we stay current and timely and funding like this is incredibly important. We are grateful for support from our Senators Capito and Manchin.”
As the airline industry continues to grow, the new cutting-edge Aviation Maintenance Technology program will ensure graduates will be in high demand as essential employees. Nationwide the demand for skilled labor in aviation is on the rise, with occupational projections indicating that there is a current demand for close to 10,000 mechanics each year through 2022. Currently U.S. training school capacity is between 6,500 and 7,000 students a year. These projections are likely to result in rising wages and increased job availability. In 2021 the median pay for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians was $65,550 a year.
Bill Noe is the chief aviation officer at Marshall University. The Division of Aviation houses the Bill Noe Flight School at the West Virginia International Yeager Airport and the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Tri-State Airport.
“Our aviation programs at Marshall University will benefit greatly from this federal money as Marshall works to educate the next generation of aviation professionals,” Noe said. “We are also boosting economic development in the region through supportive industries associated with aviation. I want to sincerely thank our phenomenal U.S. senators for their unwavering support of these programs.”
Jim Smith is the director of the new Aviation Maintenance Technology program.
“We’re grateful that people like the senators see the value in trades education like our aviation maintenance program,” Smith said. “We look forward to providing the region and our industry with a skilled workforce and to provide those looking for work an alternative that can lead them to success for years to come.”