The college is receiving grant funding from the American Electric Power Foundation to help get their new Aviation And Maintenance Technician School off the ground.
The grant puts $100,000 towards buying equipment for the new aviation program. At least some of the funding is going towards getting a jet engine powered aircraft and operational systems students can work on.
“It just enables us to give students hands-on, real experience on working on an aircraft,” Program Director Art Dilger said. “It’s really exciting to see it all come together.”
The sentiment was echoed by school president Bonny Copenhaver, who said in a statement that these programs “are designed to meet the needs of employers in our region and to train and employ community members.”
The school’s focus on aviation is meant to address a nationwide shortage of mechanics in the field. They’re joining other schools around the state in creating more aviation programs, like Marshall and Shepherd Universities.
“For our area that enables younger people or students to get into a career there’s no end to,” Dilger said. “They can continue growing and continue being educated as they move forward.”
Nearby Raleigh County Memorial Airport is also supporting the program, with New River Community Technical College purchasing a hangar at the airport last year.
The program is currently in the process to be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, but Dilger said he expects the school to be fully opened by the end of 2024.