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Poughkeepsie… Dutchess Community College, in partnership with Dutchess County Government, celebrated the groundbreaking of a new experiential lab and classroom hangar at Hudson Valley Regional Airport in the Town of Wappinger for the college’s expanding aviation program.
More than 50 community leaders joined DCC President Pamela Edington and Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the 32,000 sq. ft. facility, which will provide a state-of-the-art learning environment for DCC aviation students, as well as experiential lab space for a fixed-base operator and maintenance facility serving the airport.
The new hangar and aviation program are part of Dutchess County’s strategy to create pipelines to jobs and attract aircraft maintenance facilities to build on the 12 acres available for development at the airport.
The College’s current pilot and aviation management associate degree programs will be located in the building, and it is anticipated that by January 2021 – pending FAA, state and SUNY approvals – the facility also will house a 12-month Airframe and Powerplant Maintenance certification program, which is expected to draw new students from throughout the northeast. The proposed program will graduate highly qualified aircraft mechanics prepared to pursue rewarding, lucrative careers in the commercial and private aviation industries.
“This initiative reflects an extraordinary collaboration between the college and the county, and the alignment of our shared strategic goals,” said Dr. Pamela Edington, DCC president. “This state-of-the-art educational facility will allow for the college to expand on its successful aviation offerings, while enhancing operations at our county airport.”
A recent report from the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) found that 27 percent of the nation's Airframe and Powerplant mechanics are aged 64 and above, and Boeing's 2016 Pilot and Technician Outlook reports that 679,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed to maintain the world’s airlines over the next 20 years. Airlines in North America specifically will require 127,000 maintenance personnel according to the report.
County Executive Molinaro said, “This collaboration with Dutchess Community College will reap tremendous benefit, adding new job opportunities and attracting investment to Hudson Valley Regional Airport. This hangar is the next step in Dutchess County’s efforts to maximize our airport’s potential. It will be an innovative facility providing space for students to train for well-paying jobs in this dynamic field, both locally and beyond, accelerating the growth of a skilled workforce and boosting our local economy.”
With more than 53,000 takeoffs and touchdowns in 2018, the Hudson Valley Regional Airport continues to be a vital economic engine driving the local economy. Dutchess County Government’s $7.1 million investment in this new education hangar builds on the talent pool in Dutchess County and will help attract new businesses to the airport—joining the ranks of AAG, Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky, and others—as well as increasing the $45 million annual economic impact the airport currently provides the local economy.
In addition to the County’s $7.1 million investment, the project is receiving an additional $7.1 million from the SUNY Capital Fund and $1.5 million from Empire State Development.
The groundbreaking event also included tours of a Grumman G3-C20 jet previously owned by the U.S. government and used by presidents George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, and General Norman Schwarzkopf. Now known as “Falcon One,” the airplane will support the hands-on learning required of students in the proposed Airframe and Powerplant Maintenance program. The jet was acquired by DCC at nominal cost through government surplus.