“We’re so excited about expanding aviation education in North Carolina,” said Forsyth Technical Community College President Dr. Janet Spriggs. “I think we are the fifth lab like this in our state, and we’re focusing on the booming aviation industry.”
The $16 million Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab is a 52,000-square-foot campus with room to house eight aircraft, a components lab, and three classrooms. The aviation systems technology program consists of three training phases, including general, airframe, and powerplant. The limited enrollment, two-year program will prepare students to qualify for their airframe and/or powerplant ratings.
Students in the maintenance program will have the opportunity to work in aviation jobs while fulfilling their program requirements. “They’re getting paid to come to school… they can start at around $19 or $20 and even more an hour, while they’re in school even in some cases,” said Spriggs. “But can go up to $45 an hour and beyond.”
“What to expect is a lot of hands-on and a lot of classroom. Up to 2,000 hours of that,” said Gregory Purvis, aviation program coordinator. “When you go through the program, you’ll end up with a certificate that you can go out into the workforce [with].”
Purvis explained that a program allows students to work directly with North State Aviation to have their entire tuition paid for. “They’ll take those students before they even enroll in our program, hire them, and then pay for their education all the way through.”
“When the student comes in, the one thing we ask is where do you want to go,” said Purvis. “And then we start advising them and start talking to the right people to get them on track to…not just…graduate [and get a job] but where do they want to go? You know private industry or go into the airlines or maybe even go somewhere around the world.”