In some ways, Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology has a United Nations on its campus, CEO Peter Harris said.
In the past few years Spartan has trained students from approximately 15 countries, including Kenya, Nigeria, Singapore and China, Harris said. And since Spartan’s founding in 1928, he said, the aviation school has trained students from 62 different countries.
“We have students who are willing to come halfway around the world to get the value of a Spartan education,” Harris said Thursday.
This week the aviation college announced the launch of a partnership with Abu Dhabi-based aerospace service provider Global Aerospace Logistics LLC that will expand that reach. The new training program will bring students who are citizens of the United Arab Emirates to Tulsa to study at Spartan.
Under the partnership, Global Aerospace Logistics will sponsor students from the UAE coming to Spartan to earn degrees in aviation maintenance or electronics. The programs will also incorporate English language classes.
Harris said the first three students training through the program will arrive and start classes in January. Four more students from the UAE will arrive in February. Students will continue to arrive and begin training throughout 2016.
“We have had conversations for many months with GAL, and we’ve been very impressed with their professionalism and their integrity in dealing with us,” Harris said.
“We appreciate that this is really the first partnership for GAL with an American college, and we’re flattered they selected us from any school in the world.”
GAL is a subsidiary of the Emirates Defence Industries Company, the UAE’s integrated defense manufacturing and services platform.
When students graduate from the approximately 15-month program they may go on to work for GAL or one of the company’s customers, such as maintenance organizations or the United Emirates Air Force, Harris said.
Spartan has increased its efforts to recruit students from all over the world due to a growing demand for aviation technicians, Harris said, citing a recent study from Boeing that estimates there will be an unprecedented global demand for 600,000 aviation technicians during the next two decades.
“We’re doing our part to prepare for that,” Harris said.