Pellissippi State offers aviation training for teens this fall

Group of Tuskeegee NEXT and Pellissippi State officials who announced partnership on Monday, July 22, at Magnolia Avenue Campus
On hand at Pellissippi State to announce a new aviation training program Monday were, from left, Tuskegee NEXT Executive Director Sanura Young, Pellissippi State Economic and Workforce Development Executive Director Teri Brahams, Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., Tuskegee NEXT founder and chairman Stephen Davis, Magnolia Avenue Campus Dean Rosalyn Tillman and Pellissippi State Executive Director of Equity and Compliance Annazette Houston.

Teenagers and young adults who want to get a jumpstart on a pilot’s license have the opportunity this fall through a new class at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State has partnered with Tuskegee NEXT to offer a 13-week introductory aviation training for students ages 16-20, Pellissippi State announced in a kickoff breakfast Monday.

Classes will meet on Tuesday nights on Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, with one mandatory Saturday field trip. Professionals from the aviation industry will mentor students in the program, who will use a flight simulator to “fly.”

“It’s no secret that the aviation industry is facing a shortage of airline pilots, but that isn’t the only aviation career grappling with a labor shortage,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for Economic and Workforce Development for Pellissippi State. “Aircraft mechanics and flight simulator technicians are also in high demand. This course will introduce students to the opportunities available and provide options for training to pursue these careers.”

There is a global need of 754,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians and 790,000 pilots over the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s 2018 Pilot and Technical Outlook projections.

The nonprofit Tuskegee NEXT saw that need and created programs to help fill that void by offering aviation outreach programs to at-risk youth through Flight Training, Life Skills and Educational Assistance. The program is named in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the United States’ first black military airmen.

“As a historian, I am excited about the connection this program has with the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “As a community college president, I am pleased with the opportunities this program creates for young people in our community.”

Students who participate in the Introduction to Aviation class at Pellissippi State will gain the basic knowledge needed to sit for the Federal Aviation Administration private pilot written exam. Those who successfully complete the course and pass the written exam will be eligible to apply to the Tuskegee NEXT Cadet program in Chicago, which will run from mid-June to mid-August 2020.

Black and white photos of Tuskegee airmen and a certificate of proficiency for one of them, dated 1945
The Tuskegee NEXT program, which provides aviation outreach program to at-risk youth, is named for the Tuskegee Airmen, the United States’ first black military airmen.

“Students are often unaware of the many career possibilities available to them,” said Dean Rosalyn Tillman of Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus. “Exposure to this industry as an option may create interest for some that was never before imagined.”

There are aviation careers available right here in East Tennessee, Brahams noted.

“Local employers like Cirrus Aircraft, the Air National Guard, Pilot Flying J, Jet Aviation, Endeavor Air, STS Technical Services, Standard Aero and many others currently have openings and expect future openings for the next 10 years or more,” she said.

Students must be at least 16 years old and a sophomore in high school, hold a minimum grade point average of 2.75 and have no criminal record. Preference will be given to minority and female students.

For more information or to request an application, contact Pellissippi State Business and Community Services at 865-539-7167 or bcs@pstcc.edu.

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