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Incoming program at New River believed to offset issues in aviation industry

New River Aviation Program
New River Aviation Program(WVVA)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 3:42 PM EDT
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BEAVER, W.Va. (WVVA) - The nation’s aviation industry continues to struggle. Thousands of flights are being canceled and delayed and there’s currently a national lack of pilots.

On top of this is the large percentage of older workers, who are retiring out of the business. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), an estimated 36 percent of aviation mechanics are 60 years of age or older.

“It’s a circle of people retiring and then having new people to take it in, and the circle right now is really- there’s a broken link in it,” shared Bonny Copenhaver, President of New River Community and Technical College in Beaver.

For the last few years, New River CTC, in partnership with the Raleigh County Memorial Airport and the New River Gorge Regional Development Authority, has been working to implement an aviation mechanic program to combat these issues.

But the college says classes won’t just help aviation mechanics. They beleive it will aid the industry as a whole.

“Programs like New River’s up-and-coming aviation mechanic program is going to help fill that void, but it will also help the region have a trained workforce in aviation. There will be a pipeline of trained workers.”

Copenhaver says the program should be available to students in 2023.

“This is what we do. We train for up-and-coming careers and careers that are life-sustaining with the wages that are earned to help people support their families.”

New River shares that they have recently applied for part of a $10 million grant being offered by the FAA. If awarded, this money will go toward purchasing equipment for the program.

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