Shawn Sumlar will graduate later this summer from Rock Valley College's aviation program, and when he does he'll be a certified Federal Aviation Administration technician.
"Once you complete it you'll be able to work on anything up to the big turbo engines you see at the airport. You have to know every system, how to fix them, what's wrong. It's very intense," says Sumlar.
For years, there's been a shortage of A&P, or Airframe and Powerplant mechanics, but the beauty of RVC's program is that local companies need not look any further for highly skilled technicians.
"We have a large percentage that stay in the area. They can work for virtually any one of the operations here on the field to surrounding airports, companies in town such as Woodward and Sundstrand," says Chuck Billman, Jr., chair of the aviation program.
Last month Emery Air announced that 125 new jobs will ultimately be created with its new regional maintenance facility, and that development will increase local opportunities for students.
"We've been involved in their discussions of training needs, and their activities here at the airport. Also, they employ a number of our graduates and they also employ a number of our students who are working part time as they go through the program," says Billman.
Sumlar would like to stay and work in the area when he graduates, and the highly specialized skills he's acquired will be of great benefit to the community.
"Companies like UPS, they might look to us and say, oh, there's mechanics out there. Instead of hiring elsewhere, they come right here, build their own maintenance facility and it's much easier, less costs for them," says Sumlar.
Emery Air is aggressively looking for aircraft technicians for its new facility. The company has opportunities for A&P technicians, or Airframe and Powerplant mechanics.
Resumes are being accepted by the Workforce Connection online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also call the Workforce Connection hotline at 395-6608. You can also visit Emery Air's website at www.emeryair.net.