COMMUNITY PARTNERS LIFT WORKFORCE TRAINING
On November 1, 2023, Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) held a news conference on the campus of Lorenzo Walker Technical College (LWTC) to celebrate recent donations to the Aviation Mechanics programs. The donations were on display and included the following:
• Robinson R22 Helicopter
• 1973 Beechcraft King Air C90 Airplane
• Two Operating Pratt & Whitney PT-6 Engines
Recent changes initiated by the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) have required Aviation Mechanics programs everywhere to make significant upgrades to ensure that students are working with modern, air-worthy equipment. These donations were a result of the generosity of Collier County residents making a difference through the work of the Collier Community Foundation (CCF) and are collectively valued at more than $1 million. CCPS and LWTC are grateful for the CCF and its donors as purchases of this level of equipment would not have been possible without their partnership.
The Beechcraft King Air 90 series is a modern aircraft. It has modern systems, widely used in the local aviation market, and is well equipped to train students to the new Airmen Certification Standards (ACS) administered by the FAA. The Pratt & Whitney PT-6 engines are the same engines on the King Air, giving Aviation Mechanics students at LWTC increased hands-on opportunities to practice their skills. The Robinson R22 series helicopter provides the necessary components for students to learn rotorcraft fundamentals as well as various subjects that are covered in other areas of the ACS standards.
For 23 years, LWTC has offered a successful Aviation Mechanics career program, producing qualified technicians who are able to gain their FAA maintenance technician certifications and pursue high-demand employment opportunities here in Southwest Florida. Currently, there are more than 180 aviation companies in Southwest Florida, which have almost 150 career opportunities available for aviation maintenance technicians. These high-demand jobs pay well, with the average starting salary beginning at more than $65,000 for an aviation mechanic. Of note, LWTC is the only educational institution in Lee and Collier Counties offering these critically needed programs.