“Rockford is a place you want to invest in; Pritzker Announces $ 2.6 Million Grant to Expand Aircraft Mechanic Training in Rockford | Illinois

ROCKFORD (WREX) – Aviation mechanic training will expand in Rockford.

Governor JB Pritzker announced a $ 2.6 million investment to accelerate workforce development training for in-demand aircraft mechanics.

State funds will be used to expand, develop and implement a comprehensive workforce strategy, including learning opportunities offered by the facility for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) d ‘AAR at Rockford Airport.

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The governor says investing in Rockford is essential for the state.

“The message is known statewide and particularly in our state government that Rockford is a place you want to invest in,” Governor Pritzker said at a press conference on Tuesday. “The people of Rockford are hard working people who deserve a great future and we try to deliver that to them every day.”

The state’s investments will help AAR evolve to meet a strong demand for aircraft mechanics expected in the coming years and will expand the talent pool needed at Rockford Airport, currently undergoing capital expansion over several years. .

With the funding, AAR will create 50 new paid apprenticeships, allowing more residents of the region to enroll in specialized training for aircraft mechanics.

As part of its recent deal with United Airlines, AAR plans to hire up to 250 aircraft mechanics over the next year.

READ MORE: AAR and United Airlines sign multi-year agreement for maintenance services at Rockford

These investments will allow AAR to hire staff, help expand its partnership with Rock Valley College, and develop new educational pipelines in high schools across northern Illinois, with training scheduled to begin this spring.

State grant funds will support many of the AAR’s talent pipeline efforts to help develop the pipeline of aviation technicians at Rockford.

The funding will be used to help the company hire up to 15 new on-the-job training instructors, and invest in training and capital improvements at the MRO training center to prepare trainees on the latest aircraft and equipment used by airlines and industry today.

Overall, the AAR is expected to add 50 learning opportunities with state funds and will also support short-term accreditation programs and incentives for experienced technicians to relocate to the Rockford area.

“The continued growth of Rockford Airport is incredible. With the rapid expansion of AAR, this grant will allow our residents to get the training and development they need to secure high paying jobs and pursue career opportunities with this fantastic employer in our own community ”, Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said.

A recent Boeing report estimates that more than 600,000 maintenance technicians will be needed worldwide to meet the maintenance, repair and operating needs of airlines and aviation-related companies in the years to come.

DCEO has awarded a $ 2.6 million grant to The Workforce Connection, a DCEO learning browser.

TWC will work with the AAR to make enhancements to Rock Valley Community College’s airframe and powertrain curriculum needed to prepare mechanics for today’s demands, with a greater emphasis on airplanes and systems in the transport category.

By launching the new program, AAR will leverage existing partnerships with the Aviation Career Education Center at Rock Valley Community College, TWC and other stakeholders to establish pipelines of new aircraft mechanics and recruit various local residents for training opportunities. .

AAR received Department of Labor approval for its aircraft maintenance engineer apprenticeship program in February as well as Valor Act approval by the Department of Veterans Affairs. AAR currently has 15 apprentices in training and will increase this number to 75.

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