I had the pleasure last week of congratulating our most recent class of completers of our Aviation Technology program. A pre-graduation dinner was held at Desert Vista Campus, thanks to the support of Dave Tedlock, a member of the PCC Foundation’s Board of Directors, and Steve Pagnucco, general manager of Universal Avionics. The event is just another example of the important role that our business and community partners play in providing opportunities to our students.
The graduates honored last week are about to embark on careers dedicated to keeping travelers safe and connected. When a grandparent lands in Tucson for a family visit, or a student touches down safely in Paris to begin a year of study abroad, it’s due in part to the professionalism and dedication of qualified aviation technicians such as those produced by our program.
The need for qualified employees in the Aviation Technology industry is projected to be great. Pilot and Technician Outlook estimates 98,000 additional aviation technicians will be needed across North America over the next 20 years. In December, the Manufacturing Institute noted that “talent management shortfalls” are one of the biggest threats to the country’s continued leadership in the aircraft industry. In Arizona, 25 percent of the state’s 17,500 civil aviation workers will reach retirement age in the next two years.
The faculty, led by Department Chair Eric Ross, should be proud of their students’ accomplishment, as should Program Manager Tom Hinman and Program Assistant Benetta Jackson, the program’s all-round den mother. It should be noted that five of the graduates recognized last week are second-generation members of the industry. The fact that industry professionals are sending their children to PCC for training is a testament to the quality of our program.