Aviation Career and Education (ACE) Initiative – Workforce Solutions for the Future of Aviation
In order to utilize its vast aviation infrastructure, a top priority for England Airpark is further developing the aviation industry in our region with a specific focus on MRO (aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul) operations and the commercial pilot shortage. In 2019, England Airpark formed a partnership with Louisiana State University of Alexandria (LSUA) and the Central Louisiana Technical and Community College (CLTCC) to implement the Aviation Career and Education (ACE) Initiative. The program includes the establishment of Bachelor Degrees in Aviation at LSUA with an option to obtain a commercial pilot license; an FAA-approved A&P Mechanics School at CLTCC; and the conversion of a former hangar at England Airpark into a 37,000 square foot training and classroom facility. In order to establish the program, additional course fees for flight instruction had to be implemented. Due to Louisiana law, all university fee increases must be approved by the legislature. Representative Lance Harris and Senator Jay Luneau co-authored the bill (HB410) in the 2021 Legislative Session that was unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate.
The collective goal of ACE is to take advantage of the Airpark’s assets and grow our economy by training our workforce into skills and jobs that will benefit both the aviation industry and the region. Grant monies and private sector funding will permit these entities to accelerate the time frame for the implementation of this initiative and remove some of the cost barriers that students face in seeking these degrees. Our region has an untapped workforce waiting to be developed. As importantly, the workforce needs in aviation are great and growing. The supply of talent cannot keep up with demand, and industry analysts project the need for hundreds of thousands of new aviation mechanics, pilots, and leaders for decades to come. The opportunity is now, and England Airpark, LSUA, and CLTCC are ready to fill the need.
“This is a great day for LSUA, our community, and our state. Any chance to partner with an amazing community leader like England Airpark to solve workforce needs is a win. With a growing shortage in pilots, our students will be able to graduate with a job in hand; We are also extremely grateful to Rep. Lance Harris and Sen. Jay Luneau and all of the Central LA delegation for their help in making this idea become a reality.”
-Dr. Paul Coreil, LSUA Chancellor
“The team at England Airpark is proud to join with LSUA in laying the cornerstone on our ACE Initiative, a strategic workforce development program established to recruit the aviation industry to Central Louisiana; We are grateful to LSUA, our legislators, Acadian Aviation and Million Air for their commitment to the ACE Initiative and congratulate the University on this milestone achievement.”
-Sandra McQuain, Executive Director of England Airpark
“This is a great time for students to pursue a degree in Professional Aviation as industry experts are predicating that 260,000 new pilots will be needed over the next decade. LSUA is very excited to be able to offer its new aviation program at such an opportune time,”
-Dr. Eamon Halpin, Associate Vice Chancellor and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Program Goals and Priorities
- By Fall 2021/Spring 2022, offer two options for Bachelor Degrees in Aviation at LSUA.
- By Fall 2023, offer either certification or a two-year Associate Degree in an FAA Certified Airframe and Power Mechanics program at CLTCC.
- Recruit an FAA Part 141 Certified Flight School to base aircraft and operations at KAEX
- Establish articulation agreement between LSUA and CLTCC for easy transfer of credits between 2-year and 4-year degree seekers.
- Utilize our close relationship with Fort Polk, the U.S. Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center, and Louisiana National Guard to establish student pipeline of retiring and active-duty military personnel.
- Identify potential employers in region and recruit new MRO operations at KAEX.
- Pursue grant funding to support training and education in order to minimize cost barriers to students.
- Seek private sector funding and equipment donations for scholarships, internships and training equipment.
- Establish internship at Million Air Alexandria to enhance aviation knowledge, skills, experience, and their resume. This on-the-job training will also provide competitive pay and tuition assistance following training and certification as long as students maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
- By Spring 2023, refurbish former hangar into a 37,000 square foot state-of-the-art training and classroom facility to house ACE.
Private Sector Opportunities
- Company specific training and curriculum input
- Donation or financial sponsorship of flight simulators for pilot training
- Donation or financial sponsorship of airframe structures, airframe systems and components, powerplants, and powerplant systems and components (including propellers) for A&P Training Lab.
ACE hosted their first Aviation Open House on Tuesday, June 22 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Million Air facility at England Airpark. The Open House was a great opportunity to learn more about LSUA’s Professional Aviation program and to receive a tour of the aviation facilities and aircraft at the Airpark. Students met with aviation instructors, the Flight School operator and owner, LSUA’s Financial Aid director, LSUA Admission staff, and other individuals connected to the new program. Prospective students and/or parents will have the opportunity to learn more about the curriculum, funding opportunities, and internships, received a behind-the-scenes look at AEX.
LSUA, AEX host Aviation Open House - https://www.kalb.com/2021/06/23/lsua-aex-host-aviation-program-open-house/
LSUA Professional Aviation in partnership with ACE - http://www.lsua.edu/aviation
Aviation Program Ready to Take Flight at LSUA - https://www.kalb.com/2021/06/14/aviation-program-ready-take-flight-lsua/