WEST BARNSTABLE – Cape Cod Community College is the recipient of a federal grant of $2.4 million. The money was awarded yesterday at a ceremony at The White House in Washington D.C. attended by Cape Cod Community College President John Cox and Dean Robert Cody.
Cape Cod Community College Spokesman Michael Gross said the money comes from the Department of Labor and is earmarked for workforce training in the fields of science, technology, math and engineering.
“In our particular case, the funding makes possible the development of our airframe and power plant technician program that we’ve been working on for a year,” Gross said.
Gross said the college is in the process of negotiating with Barnstable Municipal airport for hanger space as well as bringing faculty on board. The program is expected to be offered in fall 2015.
The grant was awarded by Vice President Joseph Biden, and Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez.
Gross said, the grant will enable the College to immediately accelerate its development of a unique FAA certified airplane maintenance training program on Cape Cod, meeting a critical need for highly skilled technicians in airframe and power plant repair and certification.
“We are extremely pleased that the federal Department of Labor has provided these funds that provide an immediate jump start to this training program, and will continue support over the next three years for an industry where jobs are waiting now, not only in the Cape region, but within Massachusetts and across the nation,” stated President Cox. “We are equally grateful to our Congressional Delegation for their leadership and support of this program, especially Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and Congressman William Keating,” he added.
National, regional, and local airlines have expressed strong support as has the U.S. Coast Guard’s aviation group at Joint Base Cape Cod, among many, Gross said.
“The overwhelming support received from a wide variety of industry members including Jet Blue, Cape Air, and the U.S. Coast Guard, has been a powerful driver of our desire to meet critical needs. We’ve heard repeatedly that there are military service personnel as well as private airline employees just waiting to go through our program and gain certification. This grant today is the final piece of a very large collaboration, and we are thrilled,” said President Cox speaking from the Washington ceremonies.
Over the past year, the College has been aggressively working to create a unique accelerated training program in airframe and power plant repair and maintenance, after hearing from numerous sectors of the aviation industry about the critical shortage of highly skilled technicians. A state award of $1.95 million in this year’s budget allowed CCCC to begin the development of this program, and negotiations are underway surrounding hangar/teaching space at the Barnstable Municipal Airport.
Federal DOL funds will allow the College to seek additional faculty, purchase equipment, and related training materials, and ramp its program up to accept students starting in the Fall of 2015 or before, depending upon when details can be finalized, and FAA certification received, Gross said. This program would become one of the few training centers on the Eastern Seaboard supporting the airline industry and only the second in Massachusetts offering certification in both Airframe Structures and Power Plant Theory and Maintenance. This program will create a pathway for a career.
The jobs waiting for these program graduates are high paying jobs with career advancement potential, Gross said. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2012 certified aircraft mechanics earned a mean salary of $55,690 per year, with typical salaries running between $45,670 and $65,750.
Gross said, students completing the program can expect great job prospects, according to a recently released report by aircraft giant, Boeing. In looking globally at the rapidly expanding airline industry, Boeing reported that it saw the need for more than 600,000 airline maintenance technicians by the year 2031. Many older aircraft mechanics in the United States are at retirement age now, and major turnover can be expected through the year 2020, providing new opportunities for those with FAA certifications.
“With the federal Department of Labor funding, the College will begin to hire program faculty and staff as our hangar space is acquired and outfitted, explained CCCC President John Cox. “The final timeline is not quite clear, but the College is hopeful we can open the program for Fall semester, 2015,” he said.