Tag Archives: aviation

Good news follows good deeds

Pima Community College and nearly 270 other community colleges across the nation received some very good news out of Washington on Monday. We are the winners of $450 million in federal grant money aimed at providing workers with the skills they need to get ahead.

In our case, PCC has been awarded $2.5 million to train workers for careers in aviation, mining and manufacturing. As I noted in the news release that went out yesterday, the award is recognition of our potential to develop Southern Arizona’s 21st century economy.

It is significant that this was a competitive grant. Thanks to the hard work of many, PCC has demonstrated that we can compete on a national level for critically important resources. As Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez put it in an email to grant recipients, PCC now is part of “a community of forward-thinking and impassioned education professionals who are leading a movement to build opportunity and strengthen the skilled workforce we need for the future.”

Just as important, the job-training funds headed our way are intended to foster closer partnerships between community colleges and employers looking for skilled employees. Working in a more collaborative manner with business and industry is essential for PCC and all community colleges if we want to stay relevant in a rapidly changing economy. This grant will help us achieve that goal.

In a blog post published after the grant announcement, Secretary Perez referred to community colleges as “the secret sauce of workforce development, empowering communities, strengthening businesses and invigorating local economies.” As far as I’m concerned, he hit the nail right on the head.

Aviation Technology Center visit

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On Monday I had the pleasure of touring our Aviation Technology Center, an impressive facility on the grounds of Tucson International Airport. The ATC includes a huge hangar where students work on just about every type of aircraft, from single-engine Cessnas to Boeing 727s donated by FedEx.

It’s the 727s that set our program above the rest. Hundreds of our students have benefited from real-world, hands-on training on the aircraft. They actually do what students in most other training programs only read about.

Besides state-of-the-art equipment, the center has supremely capable instructors and staff, and students whose dedication to PCC’s rigorous course of study is founded on the knowledge they can count on high-paying employment in a field where the sky is the limit. Just about all of our graduates have jobs lined up in the Tucson area, contributing to the prosperity and economic development of the region.

My thanks to Desert Vista Campus President Johnson Bia; Desert Vista Vice President of Instruction Ted Roush; Aviation Technology Program Manager Tom Hinman; Department Chair Pete Stogsdill; faculty members Bruce Bessette, Dave Raymond and Eric Ross (pictured above); lab specialists Merrill Yeary and John Svob; and program assistant Benetta Jackson.