College Partners with Albany International Airport to Launch New Aeronautical Technology Institute

June 3, 2021

Region’s First Aviation Maintenance Technician School to Address Growing Industry Workforce Demand

Creating opportunities for well-paid technical careers and supporting the regional aviation industry, Hudson Valley Community College is partnering with Albany International Airport to open a new Aeronautical Technology Institute and create an Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS) located at the airport.

The AMTS will be an educational facility certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to train aircraft mechanics for careers in the airline industry, and it is envisioned as one part of the college’s new Aeronautical Technology Institute. The institute also aims to offer both degree and certificate programs and non-credit, short-term workforce training programs taught by college faculty.

Officials gather for photo at press conference
L to R: HVCC Foundation Board Member Gordon Zuckerman, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, HVCC Foundation Board Member Rich Amadon, Jr., HVCC Foundation Chairperson Frank Sarratori, Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, HVCC President Roger Ramsammy, HVCC Board Member Bill Fagan, HVCC Board Chairman Neil Kelleher, HVCC Board Member Bill Jennings, HVCC Board Member Wayne Pratt, HVCC Board Member Tom Grant and CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority Philip Calderone.

Programs and courses will be conducted in Hangar 1 at the Albany International Airport, which will have more than 12,000 square feet of classrooms, labs and shop space for instruction and hands-on training when renovations are completed later this year.

The need for aviation maintenance technicians is already strong and will continue due to the retirement of those currently working in the field. A 2019-2020 Aviation Technician Education Council Pipeline Report noted that 33 percent of airframe and powerplant technicians in the country are at or nearing retirement age. The report also indicates that the industry will need to produce another 2,700 mechanics over the 2019 output each year to meet U.S. market demand over the next two decades.

This shortfall is echoed in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, as the overall employment of aviation equipment mechanics and technicians is projected to grow five percent annually from 2019 to 2029.

In the Capital Region, aviation mechanics and service technicians earn a median salary of $55,000. The NYS Department of Labor projects a 15.4 percent increase in demand for aviation mechanics and service technicians through 2026. In addition, a survey of regional airlines flying out of Albany International Airport indicates that each airline expects an average projected need of up to 10 more aviation mechanics per year over the next five years.

In early 2020, Albany International Airport learned in discussion with its airline partners of the need for more aircraft mechanics locally. Albany International Airport leadership reached out to Hudson Valley Community College who immediately joined the partnership. At the same time, Albany International Airport learned via one of its signatory airlines that Champlain Valley Educational Services Board of Cooperative Educational Services (CVES), located in Plattsburgh, decided to discontinue its Aviation Maintenance Technician School. Hudson Valley Community College took the opportunity to purchase the majority of that program’s equipment and curricula.

The college secured funds to purchase the CVES program for $1.5 million and partnered with the airport to conceive and house the Aeronautical Technology Institute, drastically speeding up the program’s implementation timeline. College funding came from a 2020-21 Perkins Grant, a $500,000 loan from its Faculty Student Association and a $500,000 gift from the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation.

Last fall, the college began the transportation of equipment from CVES in Plattsburgh to the Albany International Airport. The CVES curriculum is now being refined to meet Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 147 Certification as classrooms and labs undergo renovations in Hangar 1. The college also plans to purchase additional state-of-the-art equipment and supplies, with the goal of achieving FAR Part 147 Certification and state approvals to begin training aviation technicians by Fall 2022. Several classes and information sessions will be held at the airport this fall.

As many as 40 students are expected to enroll in new aviation programs, and up to 15 incoming students will be awarded scholarships of as much as $10,000 from the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation. These scholarships will help recruit students who reside in economic opportunity zones or are traditionally underrepresented in STEM, as well as military veterans and under-employed or unemployed individuals.

“This is a fine example of Hudson Valley Community College seeing an educational need in our community and taking steps to address it,” said Hudson Valley Community College President Roger Ramsammy. “When I first arrived at Hudson Valley, we met with the leadership of the Albany International Airport and heard their concerns about the need for aviation mechanic training. We are so pleased to announce this partnership today, which will not only serve the needs of our airport and the airlines it serves but also create well-paying careers that will ultimately benefit the communities of the Capital Region.”

“As a leading economic engine for the Capital Region, the Albany International Airport is committed to supporting our airlines and our workforce with the establishment of the Hudson Valley Community College Aeronautical Technology Institute,” said Philip Calderone, CEO of the Albany County Airport Authority. “This comprehensive aviation program will act as an incentive for new and emerging airlines to serve Albany International Airport and attract additional aircraft maintenance facilities along with their well-paying jobs. Along with HVCC and Albany County, we are committed to ensuring that these new job opportunities particularly benefit low income and minority students. This is a critical initiative as we move into a post pandemic world.”

With decades of experience, the college has a proven track record in the delivery of skills-based education and job training for thousands of students each year. The college’s Applied Technologies Department, which will oversee the new program, also offers degrees and certificates in Advanced Manufacturing Technologies; Automotive Technical Services; Electrical, Construction and Maintenance; Electrical Engineering Technologies; Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Technologies; and Mechatronics. Students have a job placement rate of more than 90 percent prior to graduation.

In addition, the college’s Office of Workforce Development provides 80 non-credit, professional development and training opportunities to address workforce needs across a variety of industries. Within the past five years, it has trained more than 2,500 students, with an average completion rate of nearly 80 percent. Currently, the office supports more than 40 New York State registered apprentices in non-credit and credit-related instruction.

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