Program helps students get off the ground toward a career

Published: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 09:52 PM.

"I have my own airplane and look to this also to make me a better pilot," he said. "Now that I understand more of the mechanical aspects of the airplane, it gives me a little better comfort level when I see the detail that goes in the maintenance of these airplanes."

Greg Purvis, AST program director, said the majority of his graduates land jobs in the aviation industry after graduation, including nine of 14 2012 graduates.

"We want students to stay in the neighborhood and be at the base, but we also want them to have the opportunity to go anywhere in North Carolina and maybe outside North Carolina," Purvis said.

He said the program recently became affiliated with NA Aviation, an aircraft repair station with 155 workers. The Winston-Salem company has offered graduates of the AST program a direct line to employment.

The most recent entry class has 23 students in a possible 25 spots.

Also added to the program recently is a test prep program geared toward helping former military personnel find jobs. With 30 months of work as an aviation mechanic, qualifiers can enroll in test prep, giving them a fast track toward FAA certification.

"That test prep is prepping them to get their airframe and power plant license so they’re not having to sit through a two-year program," Purvis said.

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