I was honored to deliver keynote remarks at our Aviation Technology completion ceremony last week. The event kicks off the start of the best time of year at PCC, graduation season. Over the next month, the College will celebrate the achievements of students at about a dozen ceremonies, including the 2017 Graduation at the Tucson Convention Center Arena on May 18.
Aviation technicians are “the surgeons of the sky” – highly-trained technicians who can diagnose and treat aircraft so that day after day they deliver passengers and cargo safely to their destinations. It’s a profession distinguished by high academic, industry and government standards. Our Airframe and Powerplant students attend class weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for 19 months, receive more than 2,000 hours of instruction and take 100 tests.
It’s also a profession with tremendous employment opportunities. An estimated 25 percent of Arizona’s 17,500 civil aviation workers will reach retirement age in the next two years. Some 98,000 additional aviation technicians will be needed across North America over the next 20 years; worldwide, that number will exceed 675,000.
Through the hard work of Academic Director Jason Bowersock and the faculty and staff at the Aviation Technology Center, the program has a sterling reputation throughout the industry. When one of our students mentioned during a recent job interview that he was attending PCC, for example, he was hired on the spot.
After the ceremony, PCC Governing Board Member Dr. Sylvia Lee and I visited with graduate Dennise Ponce. Dennise is from Nogales, and is considering a career in the armed forces or working for federal contractors. [She’s particularly interested in drones.] For Dennise and the 30 other students honored last week, the sky’s the limit.