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HVCC, Albany Airport Launch New Aeronautical Technology Institute

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, HVCC President Roger Ramsammy, Albany Airport CEO Phil Calderone, Albany Couny Executive Dan McCoy
Dave Lucas
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, HVCC President Roger Ramsammy, Albany Airport CEO Phil Calderone, Albany Couny Executive Dan McCoy

Albany International Airport is collaborating with Hudson Valley Community College to launch the area's first aviation maintenance technician school.

Months of planning and partnership went into the new school, located in Hangar 1. It’s part of  HVCC’s new Aeronautical Technology Institute. Airport CEO Phil Calderone says it will be an educational facility certificated by the Federal Aviation Administration to train aircraft mechanics for careers in the airline industry.

“With over 4.5 million industry jobs lost during the pandemic, it's crucial at this post pandemic moment, that airports, airlines and the entire aviation ecosystem work in hand with our community to ensure a coordinated, swift and sustainable recovery. Toward that effort, this Aviation Institute could not be more timely.”

Hudson Valley Community College President Roger Ramsammy says the institute also aims to offer both degree and certificate programs and non-credit, short-term workforce training programs taught by college faculty.

“And those programs will serve almost on nearly 40 students per semester, right here in this beautiful I think it's about 12,000 square feet of space, where we're going to have classrooms, lab work, hands on training that's going to occur, creating a strong pipeline for careers in aviation. And we know if you have a healthy supply of skilled aviation technicians, your businesses can grow and you can become more desirable and a more desirable destination. And that's why we're so excited to announce this partnership, which will not only serve the needs of the airport and the airlines it serves, but also create high paying jobs and ultimately benefit throughout the capital region, our students”

Republican Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, a former commercial pilot whose first job was at the airport, says the need for aviation maintenance technicians is already strong.

“Over 50% of the commercial pilots in the country are over 55 years old. That same demographic holds true for the mechanics, and all the way down the line. So there's a huge need for this.”

Democratic Albany County Executive Dan McCoy says besides being an economic driver, the new school will go hand in hand with his equity agenda.

“And to give kids an opportunity. When we have gun violence in the city, and people have disregard for life, and you talk about parks, programs and other programs, these are the type of programs that are going to make a difference in someone's life in an underserved community, that can come out and make $55,000 a year, right here in their backyard. And if you look at the technical skill in this field, you're talking about next 16 years, there's going to be 38,000 new jobs created.”

Ramsammy says up to 15 incoming students will be awarded scholarships of as much as $10,000 from the Hudson Valley Community College Foundation. The scholarships will help recruit students who live in economic opportunity zones or are traditionally underrepresented in STEM, as well as military veterans and under-employed or unemployed individuals.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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