BEAVER, WV (WOAY) – New River Community and Technical College has recently announced that they are planning a new FAA-certified Aircraft Maintenance Technician School with an Airframe and Powerplant rating.
According to the President of New River CTC, the school is anticipating an influx of aerospace industry needs and is excited to provide this educational opportunity.
“New River is well-versed in putting together programs that take what an employer needs and then graduating students that meet that need,” said President Bonny Copenhaver.
The new program will be a hands-on experience, and the school is currently looking for a location to house workspaces. Students will need to have space to work on decommissioned planes during the program.
New River CTC says as students graduate with these new skills, future businesses will be more inclined to move into the region.
“I think for any community college, community is in the name for a very specific reason. It is understanding that part of our mission is to be involved in community activity, and economic development is primary to that.”
The New River Gorge Regional Development Authority has partnered with New River CTC and WVU Tech for this opportunity. It’s linked with the planned expansion to the Raleigh County Airport. That $8.5M expansion will create 105 acres for aerospace businesses to move in.
“We can’t recruit companies specifically in aerospace if we don’t have a skilled and trained workforce. So that was really why we ventured into this partnership, to be able to develop this program and have a skilled workforce ready for these companies.”
It’s expected that the new education opportunities will be beneficial to those impacted by the decline of the coal industry. The idea is that the skills needed for that industry will translate well into aerospace.
“These are definitely long-term positions. We recognize the transferability of skills from the coal industry into the aerospace industry. We recognize these are career and long-term jobs. The entry-level salary for these is well above livable wage and we’re really excited to focus on economic diversification.”
The aviation program will be 70 credit hours and take roughly two years to complete.