Aviation is a massive industry in the state. In fact, it’s one of the largest employment sectors we have. That makes it imperative we have a ready and able workforce pipeline to replace retiring mechanics and technicians, and right now that’s not the case.

Last year we spoke to Harrison Payne, formerly of the High Demand Career Initiative, who told us right now Georgia lacks airline pilots, mechanics, and technicians.

The good news is we’re trying to do something about that. The Technical College System of Georgia, Chattahoochee Technical College, and various industry partners have come together to create a new Aviation Academy in Paulding County at Silver Comet Field at the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.

Chattahoochee Tech will offer FAA-certified programs to earn an Aviation Maintenance Technician (airframe technical certificate of credit). This allows students to become certified in all parts of an aircraft except the engine. The Aviation Maintenance Technician – Power Plant TCC will also be available, which certifies a student in all aspects of the engine of an aircraft.

Airline maintenance technicians can average more than $69,000 a year at Delta, and the need for skilled mechanics and technicians is only going to increase in the near future.

Perhaps the best news in all this is the HOPE Career Grant will cover the cost of tuition for eligible students. We’ve written about the HOPE career grant before, but for those who don’t know, the grant is all about workforce development. It also helps Georgia employers by creating a pipeline of skilled workers they can hire well into the future.

Click THIS LINK to learn more about the HOPE Career Grant and to find out which programs are included and what the eligibility requirements entail.