Fifteen high school juniors from the Kenton County School District have begun a specially designed education program through which they will get an early start on completing a degree in aviation maintenance technology and become certified drone pilots in the process.
Each morning during the school week, the students will board a bus that will take them across the Ohio River to Cincinnati State's Harrison Campus, where they will begin learning how to keep jets safely flying in the college's FAA-Certified Aviation Maintenance Technology program.
Students who complete the half-day, two-year program can earn up to up to 29 hours of college credit and three national certifications, including a drone operator's certification.
On September 13, Kenton County Schools Superintendent Dr. Henry Webb was joined by Cincinnati State President Dr. Monica Posey at the Harrison Campus to present students in the program with their drone kits.
"On behalf of the Kenton County School District, we would like thank Cincinnati State, the Kenton County School Board Members, Team Kenton Foundation, Greater Cincinnati Foundation, and the KCSD Transportation Department that made this world-class educational opportunity happen for students which will ensure our scholars are college and career ready,” said Dr. Henry Webb.
The drone kits are one of the many ways that Kenton County Schools and Cincinnati State are collaborating to make the program a success, including working together with regional aviation employers on curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and financial support for the program.
"The Kenton County School District has been a wonderful partner in developing this program, which is an extraordinary example that education has no boundaries when it comes to preparing students for our regional workforce," said Dr. Monica Posey, president of Cincinnati State.
There are many educational and career pathways students in the program might pursue after they graduate, but aviation maintenance is a well paid and highly in-demand career in the Greater Cincinnati region.
In addition to strong job growth driven by the need to replace workers who retire or transfer to a different job, Greater Cincinnati is seeing a rapidly increasing demand for aviation maintenance technicians due to the expansive growth in the region's air cargo industry.
The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) is now the sixth largest cargo hub in the United States and will likely climb higher on the list as Amazon completes all phases of its $1.5 billion, three-million-square-foot air cargo hub, which started in 2017 and by 2026 will accommodate up to 100 aircraft, the largest such facility in the country.
This new growth, combined with returning demand related to the post-COVID passenger air operations at CVG other regional airports will put a huge demand for a well-trained AMT talent pool in a region where the demand for such talent is already high.