SouthernTech awarded $4 million for Aviation Maintenance Training
SouthernTech is pleased to be the recipient of a $4 million Economic Development Administration (EDA) CARES Act grant to build an Aviation Maintenance Training Facility. The growing job demand in the region, and across the state of Oklahoma, propelled the Technology Center to seek funding for a facility and program to address the needs.
With the goal to strengthen the regional economy, Dr. David Powell, Superintendent of SouthernTech, participated in the public and private sector collaboration that ultimately led to the project. “We received overwhelming support to write this proposal. The role of SouthernTech is to respond to the workforce needs of the region by training individuals for the immediate and future job openings. With that mission in mind, it seemed fitting that SouthernTech should meet the new demand with the same drive as we’ve done with other programs.”
Dr. Powell detailed how the project’s proposal evolved, and the excitement of receiving word that SouthernTech was funded: “After years of continued growth of Aerospace jobs in Oklahoma, we finally found a possible funding solution via a federal ‘Opportunity Zone (OZ)’ grant. Like a lot of things, COVID intervened and the OZ grants were moved to EDA Cares Act, which meant many more months of rewriting and waiting. It seemed to drag on forever! This is the largest grant SouthernTech has ever been awarded and it will allow student’s who have the dream of working in Aerospace, to receive their education locally.”
Dr. Powell explained that the $4 million investment is targeted to build a 18,775 square foot training facility. “The facility will face highway 199 with a large bi-fold hangar door on the north facing into a parking lot specific for airplanes. It will include one shop area between the classrooms, and dedicated lab spaces.
The Aerospace Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) training program is designed to focus on student, community and employer needs. Just like all programs at SouthernTech, A&P students will receive hands-on experience with real equipment and aircraft. The FAA curriculum is very detailed as you can imagine, but we expect 16 graduates annually and 90% of those students to be effectively placed in quality jobs.”