ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) - Supporters of an aviation program at St. Cloud State University say its closure is poorly timed as the industry expects to see more demand for pilots and aviation workers.

The St. Cloud program trains students for jobs as air traffic controllers, airport managers and pilots. The university will close it by 2014 as part of its new focus on broad learning over career training.

The school also faces a $20 million budget gap. Ending the program will save nearly half a million dollars.

But government retirement guidelines and stricter regulations are increasing the call for new aviation workers. Industry officials say military-trained pilots who filled positions in the past are now retiring.

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