Eastern Florida State College officially got its wings Monday, with certification from the Federal Aviation Administration for an aviation maintenance technician program at Melbourne International Airport.
The program is geared to fill a growing need for highly-skilled aviation workers globally and also closer to home as companies like Embraer jets and AAR Airlift continue to expand in the Melbourne area. Eastern Florida will begin offering courses in the program in January.
“This is a very important component of aviation,” said Greg Donovan, executive director at Melbourne International. “There are companies all over the world looking for this career path.”
Graduates of the EFSC program will be qualified to take the FAA examination that can lead to jobs in aircraft maintenance, repair and refurbishment that average $55,200 annually.
The FAA-approved program will be held at Eastern Florida’s new Aviation Center at the airport, adjacent to the main terminal. The center includes classrooms and a fully equipped hanger with four aircraft, a machine shop, testing equipment and composites station where students will get hands-on training.
“The college has worked very closely with the airport and its aviation companies to develop this program, which will create excellent career opportunities and provide more momentum for the Space Coast and Central Florida economies,” said college President Dr. Jim Richey.
“It’s a major step forward for the college and our community, and is another example of how the college is partnering with business to help drive economic development.”
Tony Alfaya, an FAA regulator who was at the Aviation Center Monday as the certification was presented to college officials, said he was impressed with what EFSC put together.
“Kudos to you and the type of quality product that you’re producing here,” Alfaya said. “A lot of these schools it’s just a hodgepodge. They just throw stuff together. But I can see through the mock ups and the test sets that you’re in it for the long haul.”
The college is now accepting applications for Spring Term 2016, with two Information Sessions coming up in preparation for the Dec. 10 application deadline.
The college is holding two public information sessions for prospective students at its Aviation Center, 640 Harry Sutton Road, Melbourne International Airport. The sessions will be 6-7 p.m. Nov. 19 and 11 a.m.-noon Dec. 2. Free parking is available near the Aviation Center, which is on the west end of the airport adjacent to the international terminal.
An open house at the Aviation Center is also scheduled for late February on a date to be announced.