GODFREY – Lewis and Clark Community College has been awarded $346,762 in grant funds from the State of Illinois to start an Avionics program, which will address a critical skills gap in local industry.

“We are excited to be able to offer new career training opportunities in up-and-coming fields like this one,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Sue Czerwinski. “Not only are we preparing students for a rewarding future; we’re also filling an industry need in and around the Lewis and Clark Community College District.”

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

The program, called “Avionics Career Exploration and Skills Pathway for Youth” (ACES), will be focused on aligning training with regional employment needs.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Service Area (MSA) is already an established aviation hub, positioned for growth within the industry with the expansions of Gulfstream, West Star Aviation and Boeing facilities. These opportunities have left the region with a shortage of qualified avionics technicians, who work with the electronic systems vital to the operation of modern aircraft.

The grant will be used to bring on a new program instructor, professional development, and equipment necessary for the college to provide hands-on technical and soft skills training to Avionics students.

“We are pleased with the ICCB award to support our ongoing commitment to aligning a strategic focus to workforce development and industry needs in our region,” said L&C President Ken Trzaska. “This program is an example of an emerging partnership with leading regional aviation workforce partners.”

Article continues after sponsor message

The Avionics program will focus on career awareness as well as work-based learning for a comprehensive student experience, supported by student services like L&C Career Services. There is also the potential for development of pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs with IBEW 649 and West Star Aviation.

“The avionics field offers rewarding opportunities close to home, with very competitive salaries in our region,” said Dean of Liberal Arts and Business Randy Gallaher. “Our program will allow students to hit the ground running in this up-and-coming field.”

ACES will benefit from a dedicated Avionics Advisory Board, which will include critical stakeholders and supportive partners such as the Madison County Career and Technical Education System, the Madison County Government Employment and Training Department (MCETD), local International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) 649, West Star Aviation, and the Boys and Girls Club of Alton. Partnering school districts include Alton, Bethalto and Edwardsville.

Plans include a dual-enrollment Avionic Technician pathway for high school students, as well as out-of-school youth (ages 16-24) involved in the college’s Building Futures YouthBuild program; a bridge from the college’s Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree in Industrial Electricity to an AAS in Avionics Technician.

The program, which is still in the planning stages, is being modeled from a successful program at Witchita State University Tech.

“Our target for ACES is to recruit 30 participants from the partnering high schools and the Youth Build program, with the purpose of building awareness of the avionics industry and career exploration,” Gallah

More like this:

May 28, 2024 - Aviation Scholarship Opportunity Presented To Local Resident By Local EAA Chapter 864

May 18, 2024 - Budzinski Helps Pass Bipartisan Aviation Bill with Stronger Consumer Protections, Workforce Development Resources

Mar 26, 2024 - Piston Aviation Flight School to Open New Location at St. Louis Regional Airport

Yesterday - St. Clair County Sheriff's Deputy Ike Earns Top Academic Honor at Police Academy

May 14, 2024 - L&C Alumna Shannon White Receives the Roster of Honor Award from the American Occupational Therapy Association