NASHUA, NH – U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen visited the Nashua Community College Aviation Technology Center Friday to take a look at the expansion of the state’s only Federal Aviation Administration-certified college program, which is expected to fill a critical industry workforce shortage.
Shaheen, D-N.H., is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and supported funding that was secured last year, and awarded in March, to buy updated training aids and equipment for the program.
During her visit, Shaheen met with faculty and students to learn more about the program’s curriculum and discuss how the money she secured is helping the center, according to a news release from her office.
NCC got $465,051 in March from the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 in March to expand the program, which is expected to help fill a critical industry shortage in aviation mechanics and increase jobs in the industry in the state.
“Nashua Community College’s Aviation Center is strengthening New Hampshire’s aviation industry, and it was great to see firsthand how the federal funds I secured are helping expand and develop this program,” Shaheen said. “This investment is bolstering our state’s economy and providing Granite State students interested in aviation with access to the equipment and resources necessary for career success.”
The money allowed NCC to expand its workforce development program to train students in maintenance and production of aircraft mechanics, Lucille Jordan, NCC president said in March. Students earning associate of science degrees in aviation technology are positioned to get jobs in airplane manufacturing and aviation maintenance, Jordan said.
NCC is the only college in the state that offers an FAA-approved aviation technology program, which restarted in the summer of 2022 after a one-year hiatus.
An industry study found that by 2027, there will be 27% fewer aircraft maintenance workers than needed in the U.S. Aviation maintenance jobs have a median wage of $33.40 an hour and $69,470 annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Median means that half of those doing the work make more, and half make less.
The grant award was supported by all four members of the state’s congressional delegation, who in a joint release in March said the funding will not only provide crucial job training for an industry that’s seeking skilled workers, but also provide job opportunities for New Hampshire residents.