ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Rock Valley College trustees approve a plan to spend $5 million on a new hangar for its aviation technology program in order to give more students the chance to land a job in the aviation industry.
Todd Morgan has his hands full teaching dozens of aspiring airplane mechanics what it takes to keep a plane of these running. Morgan is one of four full time professors for Rock Valley College’s Aviation Technology Program. About 60 students train out of a hangar at the Chicago Rockford International Airport, and it seems they're running out of room.
"We're jam packed in here, sometimes instructors, were bumping into each other trying to set up classrooms," says Todd Morgan, an instructor with RVC’s Aviation Technology Program.
RVC Trustees on Monday signed off on a plan to build a new facility with up to six classrooms and a bigger hangar on the airport grounds. That’s a change that would give instructors like Morgan more space to teach, and leave plenty of extra room for planes, parts, and tools.
"Being able to get all of our equipment inside so we can utilize it all. some of it is deteriorating from being outside so being out of the weather would be a huge difference," says Morgan.
The extra space would allow more students the chance to get their airframe and powerplant license, a two year certificate that can land them a job right here in the Stateline with a starting salary is between $14 and $16 dollars an hour.
“The average age of mechanics up there so you see a lot of retirements in the industry and you need people to move into those jobs," says Morgan.
Leaders at RFD say they look forward to this expansion and the growing partnership between the college and the airport.
"The idea behind expanding their program, it serves the needs of the airport because there's alot of jobs related to aviation maintenance programs out here,” says Amy Ott, the Deputy Director of Finance at RFD. “Or our close proximity to bigger airports where there’s a need for these kinds of jobs, O’Hare, Midway."
Morgan says quite a few O'Hare employees are enrolled in his classes, using this program as a way to work their way up in the aviation industry.
RVC Trustees say the plan is to break ground on the new building in early 2015.