By Kerry Yencer, Times Correspondent
Sunday, March 15, 2009
ALBERTVILLE – Penny Glasscox could be the poster person for what laid-off workers in the United States should be doing.
When Glasscox found herself unemployed in November from her job as office manager for the collision center at a local automobile dealership, she immediately began looking for work. She also looked to the future, remembering that schooling would begin in January at the Ozark Aviation College’s north campus at the Albertville Regional Airport.
Nobody would have a problem picking Glasscox from the first class at the aviation school that opened at the temporary facility. She’s the only woman among the 24 students enrolled.
The classes are being offered by Enterprise-Ozark College. Albertville and Marshall County officials are hoping they will lead to a permanent college being established at the airport to complement the Ozark Aviation campus in south Alabama.
“Everyone is very excited about this great opportunity for many job openings at BAE Systems in our hometown,” Glasscox said. “This is the first semester of classes being taught, and we expect it to continue to grow as time goes on.”
Glasscox, a lifelong resident of Albertville, sees this as an opportunity of a lifetime.
“After job-seeking for about two weeks, I remembered the new aviation training facility,” she said.
She went to the new facility and spoke with Ozark Aviation College Dean Tom Kirk.
“After that conversation, I knew I was in the right place at the right time,” Glasscox said. “He covered all of my many questions. I enrolled and started class on Jan. 12. Best decision I have made in a long time.”
Aviation maintenance technology students learn to construct, inspect, service and maintain aircraft body (fuselage), electrical systems, navigation and communications systems, inclement weather controls, fire protection systems, hydraulic/pneumatic systems, braking systems, assembly and rigging, reciprocating engines, turbine engines and properties.
The college prepares students for entry-level opportunities with aerospace manufacturing companies, commercial airlines, repair stations and general aviation, with starting salaries of $20 per hour and more.
Among companies that employ graduates of the college are PEMCO, Army Fleet Support, Sikorsky Support Services, Flight Safety International, STAR Aviation, Bell Helicopter, BASE, Acrohelipro, Helispec, Mobile Aerospace, Goodrich and EADS CASA.
Glasscox is taking three courses now and will take two during the summer. Afterward, her goal is to work with BAE Systems, which repairs military airplanes and helicopters.
“Being the only woman in the entire college, I get teased a lot,” said Glasscox, who has been married to her husband, Frankie, for 26 years and has two grown children. “Some of the guys will say, ‘Don’t be intimidated.’ My reply is, ‘I’m not at ALL intimated. You don’t know me; I am not easily intimidated.'”
While she is a newcomer to aviation, Glasscox said, “I am very excited about where this new career will take me. Aviation is a whole new world to me, and I absolutely love it. I like a challenge, and believe me, this is definitely a challenge.”
Glasscox said the Ozark-Enterprise staff – Kirk and instructor Dan Owen – have been supportive.
“The dean called me at home, personally, to remind me of the date to register for these courses. I can’t think of any other dean that would do that. He and his staff of instructors are as excited as I am, and that makes it more desirable. The instructors … make sure we understand each procedure. Many lives will be at stake when we actually use the skills we have been taught.”
Classes at Albertville are taught from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fridays at a cost of $90 per semester hour.
The cost of completing a certificate program is $8,010 in-state and $14,418 out-of-state. To obtain an associate degree in applied science, the cost is $8,820 in-state and $15,876 out-of-state. Books cost about $506 for technical and $708 for academic, with additional costs for testing of $300 for FAA written and $900 for oral and practical, plus $35 for cap and gown and $15 per diploma.
Source: GADSDEN TIMES