U.S. Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA-14) and U.S. Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) sent a joint letter to Federal Aviation Administrator Dickson in support of ongoing efforts by Paulding County and Chattahoochee Technical College to build an aviation maintenance school at the Paulding Northwest Atlanta Airport.

The letter urges the expedited completion of an Environmental Assessment, which needs to be done by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before the state can begin construction of the new school.

“The aviation industry plays a critical role in the state of Georgia with industry leaders such as Delta Air Lines, Gulfstream and Pratt & Whitney, as well as the nation’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson International, all located within the state,” the Members wrote. “In fact, Georgia ranks fourth in the nation for the number of individuals employed in the aviation field and job growth outlook for the industry exceeds national averages over the next ten years. Accordingly, and with support from both industry and the local community, the state of Georgia has prioritized creating a stable pipeline of highly skilled talent to meet industry demand.”

It was announced in October of 2018 that an Aviation Academy would be built in Paulding County. Chattahoochee Tech plans to offer FAA-certified technical certificates of credit, diplomas and associate of applied science degrees in Aviation Maintenance at the school. The land that would house the school is currently included in the airport master plan, and requires FAA approval before it can be used for the Aviation Academy. The Georgia Department of Transportation submitted a draft Categorical Exclusion proposal to the FAA for consideration, which stated that building the school at the airport would not have a significant effect on the local environment. However, the FAA denied the proposal and is requiring an Environmental Assessment, which must be completed and approved before any construction begins.

“This is particularly concerning,” the Members wrote, “given that further action in the Georgia Legislature, whose session is anticipated to end no later than early April, is required after FAA approval. While we were disappointed about the FAA’s decision to require an additional EA, we are hopeful that such an assessment can be completed in an expedited manner. As such, we ask the FAA to provide an expected completion timeline for an EA that addresses the concerns we share with the Paulding County community and allows the Georgia Legislature to plan the state’s budget accordingly.”

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2 COMMENTS

  1. AS LONG AS ONLY U.S. CITIZENS WILL BE TRAINED IN THIS PAULDING COUNTY AVIATION SCHOOL AND THERE ARE ADEQUATE FUNDS ON HAND TO BUILD IT, I AGREE IT CAN BE A GOOD TRADE FOR OUR CITIZENS.

  2. This Aviation School would be a huge benefit to the Paulding County Community. With the regional airport there and the County’s proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, this school could provide the much needed pipeline of future aviation mechanics to the airline industry

    A report released in February 2018 by the Aviation Technician Education Council revealed that 30 percent of the aviation mechanics workforce is at or near retirement age, new entrants into the field only make up 2 percent of the workforce population each year. The result is a huge gap between job vacancies in the future and qualified, skilled people to fill those vacancies.

    As the former State Director of Career, Technical, and Agriculture Education, I know and understand the value of technical education. While an overwhelming majority of jobs now require education BEYOND high school, most do not require a 4-year degree. In fact, there are MANY profitable jobs that require technical training, apprenticeships, or other work-based learning/training rather than a 4-year degree.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the average annual salary of aircraft mechanics and service technicians in Georgia in 2018 ranged from $67,400 – $79,590. Compare that to the average salary for workers with a 4-year degree at $59,124.

    Not EVERY child wants or needs a 4-year degree. As seen in the comparison above, there are many options where students with technical certificates/training earn more than the workers with a 4-year degree. We owe it to our citizens to provide them every opportunity to be successful and the building of this Aviation School will not only provide them the opportunity to be successful, but also it will fill a much needed gap in the industry and help spur economic development in the community.

    If elected as the new Representative from the 14th District, I will work to ensure that projects like this receive the attention they deserve and are ushered through to completion in a timely manner so that our communities and citizens receive the ultimate benefits.

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