Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology officials announced Friday the launch of a new aviation maintenance program designed to allow members of the U.S. armed forces to get a head start on a civilian career before exiting the military.
The program is the first of its kind to be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and is designed to fill a specific need with respect to people who are transitioning out of the military, said Peter Harris, CEO of Spartan Education Group.
The program allows active-duty military members to take classes part time and online during the first portion of the aviation maintenance course. The distance education portion makes it possible for a service member leaving the military to complete the Aviation Maintenance Technology course in seven months after active duty rather than the normal 15 months.
“Members of the U.S. armed forces are among the most sought-after employees in the world,” Harris said during his remarks at Friday’s event.
The access that the new program provides to flexible, high-quality training allows Spartan to play another vital role in connecting members of the military to employers, Harris said, citing a Boeing study that estimates there will be an unprecedented demand for 600,000 aviation technicians globally during the next two decades.
“We need these veterans in the workforce,” Harris said.
In addition to working with the FAA, Spartan worked with Computerized Training Systems to develop the e-learning platform that delivers the distance education portion of the program.
Active-duty students will receive a tablet loaded with course materials that will allow them to complete curriculum online, even when deployed in remote locations without Internet access for up to three weeks.
Spartan expects the program to launch with 10 to 20 students when it begins in January, Harris said. The college hopes to build enrollment up to 100 to 200 students within a year.
The cost is comparable to Spartan’s other programs and students can use veterans benefits to cover the cost, Harris said.
U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine was among the officials who also spoke at Friday’s event. He praised Spartan for helping to ease the transition from active duty to civilian life, a change that can be very difficult for some who are leaving the military.
Navigating the regulations to get the program approved would have been very difficult, Bridenstine said.
“I know that wasn’t easy to achieve,” Bridenstine said. “But because it was achieved, Tulsa is going to be better, Spartan is going to be better, the armed services is going to be better and the FAA will benefit as well.”