Northeast Iowa Community College (NICC) is set to offer a new avionics program this fall in a bid to address the shortage of aviation professionals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Avionics Electronic Technician program will train students to identify, troubleshoot, and repair avionics systems utilizing techniques set out by the Federal Aircraft Administration.
According to Mark Gerein, NICC Dean of Advanced Manufacturing, Industrial Technology, and Computer Science, the nine-month diploma program will seek to partner with local aviation educators and experts to provide quality education to students.
“The program has the potential to be a feeder into other aviation careers. Additionally, the development of electronics could branch to other learning streams for careers in robotics, automotive, transportation, agricultural electronics and drone technology,” Gerein said.
If approved by the Iowa Department of Education, the new Avionics Electronic Technician program will reportedly become one of only two avionics programs in the region.
Aviation Workforce Shortage
A study conducted by Oliver Wyman, a consultancy based in New York and London, showed that a global pilot shortage will emerge in certain regions no later than 2023, with a global gap of 34,000 pilots by 2025.
However, according to Dubuque Regional Airport Director Todd Dalsing, there was already a shortage in the aviation workforce even before COVID-19 hit the US. He said the ongoing pandemic has just worsened the shortage.
“Obviously you need your pilot, you need a flight crew and, if there are any mechanical issues, mechanics need to come in and address those,” Dalsing explained to KCRG-TV. “You need air traffic controllers, ground handlers that are pumping the fuel and taking care of the aircraft.”