Sinclair, airport announce new joint program to train people for airplane mechanic, maintenance jobs

Sinclair Community College, the Dayton International Airport, the city of Dayton and PSA Airlines announced plans Wednesday to spend more than $1 million to build a new aircraft mechanic training facility at the airport to train people for airplane mechanic and maintenance jobs.

Graduates of the program will be well-positioned for high-paying jobs of between $50,000 to $75,000 a year at the Dayton International Airport, said Gilbert Turner, director of aviation at Dayton International Airport.

“This partnership will strengthen the viability of the Dayton region’s air travel economy,” Turner said.

Proponents of the program said there is a growing shortage of people who are trained as aircraft mechanics, which is becoming a greater problem.

“This is critical,” said Sinclair president Steve Johnson. “This is critical to many companies and the entire industry.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is expected to grow by 11% by 2030, with an expectation that around 14,400 openings for those jobs will be posted each year.

“It’s gobsmackingly huge,” Johnson said of the numbers.

The facility will contain two classrooms, two lab spaces and will be dedicated to aircraft mechanics and aviation service maintenance. Classes will also be conducted at the downtown Sinclair campus.

The renovation will accommodate commercial aircraft, needed equipment and training and lab space for instruction and will be completed by 2023, Johnson said.

The program will also help fill workforce needs, said PSA Airlines president Dion Flannery.

“I view this investment by Sinclair and by the city and the airport as a first very important step to address those workforce gaps as we see them,” Flannery said.

The Dayton International Airport applied for an additional $250,000 for the facility with the Dayton Development Coalition. Sinclair had already contributed $560,000 to the project as a whole and the City of Dayton’s Department of Aviation contributed $204,000 to build the hanger.

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