$320,000 in Ongoing Funding Awarded to SUU Aviation Pathway

Published: June 21, 2021 | Author: Lawrence Mbaki | Read Time: 3 minutes

Utah Legislature funds SUU’s Aviation Pathway Strategic Workforce InitiativeIn partnership with several statewide high schools, Southwest Technical College, and various industry employers, Southern Utah University recently secured $320,000 in ongoing legislative funding to support the creation of a Utah Aviation Pathway Strategic Workforce Initiative (SWI). This initiative will allow students to get an early start into the evolving aviation flight and maintenance technology workforce in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the pandemic, the aviation industry was in the midst of the greatest maintenance technician and pilot shortage in its history. The industry was growing at an unprecedented rate while attempting to train and replace its aging employee base. Boeing expects the aerospace industry to stabilize back to 2019 levels of operation within the next few years. This COVID-19-driven downturn of the industry has temporarily opened a window of opportunity for educators and operators to build a workforce pipeline to fill pilot and mechanic positions as industry growth returns. The SWI’s new and collaborative approach will counteract these shortages and provide the aviation industry with fully-trained, qualified technicians and pilots for years to come.

As part of this initiative, SUU has created stackable credentials, dual enrollment programs, and distance learning modules in both maintenance and rotor flight education. Funding will allow for the proper staffing support of these Career and Technical Education programs to ensure they meet their full potential. Through both the rotor and maintenance pathway programs, SUU will provide a student pipeline into the aviation industry, starting students on this path as early as high school.

Aviation faculty Jared Britt, also Director of Global Aviation Maintenance Training Aviation, has worked at SUU for five years and was the principal investigator on the SWI grant proposal. Since starting in the position, his goal has been to grow the aviation school and these SWI funds will allow him to do just that. Britt estimates the funds will double the student population from 25 to 50 and increase the faculty as well. He also points out that aviation enjoys a “90% job placement rate for graduating students.” With numbers like these, Britt is confident the aviation workforce will increase in Utah and we will increase our hiring of student workers and liaisons.

Students can follow the program path to an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, and eventually, a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in either maintenance or rotor flight, making them immediately eligible to apply for open positions in aviation and related industries. This will provide students with lucrative career paths in a high-growth industry. As an added benefit to students and our local economy, many aircraft technician careers allow technicians to live in Utah and travel to work around the world.

If you are interested in the Utah Aviation Pathway SWI or have any questions, please contact Jared Britt at jaredbritt@suu.edu or visit his office in the SUU Aviation building (2410 Aviation Way).

Produced by the SPARC Office
SUU’s SPARC Office provides assistance to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking external funding for their projects and programs, from concept development and planning through implementation and management of funded projects.

Tags: College of Engineering and Computational Sciences SPARC Aviation

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