SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A new wing of the OTC Aviation program will open its doors in the next two years.
“This is a project which has county buy-in, city buy-in, state buy-in and federal, buy-in and buy-in from the Ozarks Community College Board of Trustees and the taxpayers of Southwest Missouri,” Dr. Hal Higdon, Chancellor of OTC said.
However, these students will stay on the ground, and for good reason.
“We’re working on a new project, the AMP program, our Aviation Maintenance technology program,” Kyle McKee, Department Head of the Aviation program said. “That’s also going to be a two-year program, and that’s for those who want to work on aircraft to maintain them, inspect them, repair them and modify them as well.”
OTC says graduates of the new program will have jobs waiting for them.
“The demand for aviation maintenance technicians is even greater than it is for pilots, and that’s both nationally and globally,” McKee said. “We are definitely trying to address that as well as just help our community. Our local area does not have any major maintenance facilities around here, so we’re trying to help promote a program that will build that for our region, which is desperately needed.”
Students will work hands-on with several aircraft during the two years.
“We have three airplanes and one helicopter, and that’s what they’ll be using hands on every day to learn all the proper techniques for maintenance and repair,” McKee said.
Those who spoke at the groundbreaking say this program will help students and the local economy.
“What we’re hearing from American Airlines is ‘Are we going to be able to find workforce for this?’, Brian Weiler, Director of Aviation for the City of Springfield said. “OTC was at the table in Dallas when we were negotiating those things, and they pledged to be part of that solution, and they’ve been true to their word on that.”
“In the maintenance world, you don’t have to have any degree at all,” McKee added. “This will actually give them an advantage to have a degree that they could even move up into supervisory positions.”