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Delta joins to support new aviation maintenance program

William Smith, Delta Air Lines’ director of learning and development for Technical Operations, announces the air carrier will provide educational support for the Aviation Maintenance Technology program being launched by Marshall University and Mountwest Community and Technical College with support from the Robert C. Byrd Institute. (Photo Provided)

HUNTINGTON — The new Marshall University/Mountwest Community and Technical College Aviation Maintenance Technology program has been designated as a partner educational institution with Delta Air Lines Technical Operations.

The collaboration, the first of its kind in the region and in West Virginia, will prepare students with a technical education for the growing number of aviation industry jobs. The program will join 45 other schools across the country that have received the endorsement of Delta Tech Ops, the maintenance training division of the nation’s second largest air carrier.

William Smith, Delta’s director of learning and development for Technical Operations, announced the partnership at a ceremony at Huntington Tri-State Airport. The program will launch in spring 2022, pending approval by the Federal Aviation Administration.

“On behalf of Delta Air Lines, I’d like to tell you how excited and honored we are to be part of this partnership,” Smith, a native of Rowlesburg in Preston County. said. “The timing for this institution could not be better. The industry demand is somewhere between half a million and a million people over the next 10 to 20 years.”

Existing aviation maintenance technology schools only have the capacity to produce about 65 percent of the aviation mechanics and technicians the industry needs, Smith said. The Marshall/Mountwest program, with support from the Robert C. Byrd Institute, will offer a dual associate of applied science degree from both institutions and provide students the opportunity to earn FAA certifications as well as specialized credentials.

“We couldn’t be happier to be partnering with this school and I congratulate you on your current milestone,” Smith said. “(Delta) will be here to support you. We will support you with parts, we will support you with industry best practices, we’ll support you with tooling, we’ll support you with expertise, we will grow your curriculum, we will grow your students, we will grow your staff.”

Marshall President Jerome Gilbert praised the Delta partnership, saying the relationship will help ensure the program meets the dynamic needs of industry.

“The support from Delta for our new program is very much appreciated,” Gilbert said. “Industry expertise is essential to the success of any higher education endeavor, and we are grateful for their generous backing. It is an honor to be partnered with Delta.”

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