ST. CLOUD (WJON News) -- A new aviation program is taking off at the St. Cloud Technical and Community College.

President Lori Kloos says a new aircraft maintenance program has been in the works for several years, and they are now at the point where they can talk about it more publicly.

She says the aviation industry is anticipating about 300 openings per year for aviation mechanics.

And so they got together and said who do we increase the pipeline to train people to be an aircraft maintenance technician?  They reached out to us and said is there a way that we can partner?  We have such great relationships in the industry here with the St. Cloud Regional Airport and the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation and we started making connections.

Kloos says there are other aviation maintenance technician programs in Minneapolis, Lake Superior Community College, and Northland Community College, but there's a three-year waiting list to get into those programs.

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There is a cap of 24 people in the cohort for the two-year program. Kloos says they plan to start the new program by the fall of 2026 at the St. Cloud Regional Airport.

So we're looking at what we could build like a hangar.  We're working with the St. Cloud Regional Airport on that.  So we'll have a space out there.  Part of being FAA certified we have to follow their curriculum requirements, we have to have certain space and curriculum requirements.

Kloos says they have hired someone to help launch the program who will be starting in July. They will also need to get accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission and approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.


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