Ashtabula to offer new aviation program

Leslie Arntz

As one generation of aviation mechanics retires, another must step in to fill the void.

Next fall, the Ashtabula campus plans to offer a new program in aviation maintenance.

The Associate of Applied Science degree in aviation maintenance technology was already approved by the Board of Trustees, but still needs to be approved by the Ohio Board of Regents. Ashtabula Dean Susan Stocker said it won’t be on the agenda for several months.

The two-year program will prepare students to work as airframe and power plant mechanics, working on the body of the plane and the internal systems.

“There is a tremendous need for maintenance technicians,” said Isaac Nettey, senior director of academic programming for aeronautics. “This is partly caused by the large number of maintenance technicians trained as part of the effort to prepare for the Vietnam war who are approaching retiring age who need replacements.”

The U.S. Department of Labor indicates increased employment opportunities nationwide. The large number of private and public airports in Ohio will provide a large local demand for mechanics. Nettey said there was a lot of anecdotal evidence of student interest through both phone calls and e-mails.

The Ashtabula campus was an ideal location for this program. Nettey said the socio-economic demographics and proximity to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport created a solid base for the program. The program includes close partnership with the Ashtabula County Airport, Stocker said.

Nettey said the most important approval will come from the Federal Aviation Administration accreditation. He said the university plans to work toward accreditation from the Aviation Accreditation Board International, which accredited the current aeronautics program at Kent State.

Contact College of Technology reporter Leslie Arntz at [email protected].