Aviation maintenance school coming to SRQ | From the Observer

Manatee Technical partners with Suncoast Technical to provide training at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

The Aviation Maintenance Technician School is coming to the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the 2022 state budget June 2 that included $5.5 million to be allocated to the new aviation school.

Once opened, Manatee Technical College will partner with Suncoast Technical College to provide career certificate workforce training for those who want to become aviation airframe mechanics and aviation power plant mechanics.

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will prepare students for licenses in aviation maintenance and employment and advanced training in the aviation industry.

“I want to thank the Legislature and Gov. DeSantis for having the vision and foresight to fund this innovative venture that will benefit not only Manatee and Sarasota counties but the entire state,” said Cynthia Saunders, the superintendent of the School District of Manatee County, in a news release. “I want to say a special thanks to Rep. Fiona McFarland and Sen. Joe Gruters for their sponsorship of this initiative.”

According to a news release from the School District of Manatee County, the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation reports there are nearly 1,500 annual openings for aircraft mechanics and service technicians statewide, and more than 50 employers in the aviation and aerospace industry operate in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

“The aviation maintenance training program at SRQ will be a valuable strategic asset for economic development in the Bradenton area and our region,” said Sharon Hillstrom, the president and CEO of the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corporation, in a news release. “Companies want to locate in forward-thinking communities that understand the value of collaboration and that support support education, workforce development and business expansion.”

Rick Piccolo, the airport president and CEO, said in the news release that he is excited for the school to open.

“This school will create worldwide opportunity for students in our entire region in a growing industry,” he said. “It enhances the opportunity to attract major aircraft maintenance firms to the airport which would create high paying jobs locally.”

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