With a goal to continue to expand and grow its nationally recognized School of Aviation Sciences, Community College of Beaver County (CCBC) has been selected once again as one of American Airlines top aviation-focused schools and organizations dedicated to training the next generation of aviators. Receiving a grant of $25,000, CCBC was one of only 17 aviation schools to receivean American Airline grant in 2018.

The grant will support CCBC’s launch of its WINGS (Widening Interest for the Next Generation of Students) in Aviation program, which will increase outreach efforts to school districts and enable CCBC to purchase several desktop flight simulators that can be taken to the local school districts for hands-on experiential learning and increaseawareness of a career in professional piloting. 

“We believe we’re making the pilot profession more visible, accessible and obtainable to a broader range of people than ever before,” said Captain David Tatum, Director of Pilot Recruiting and Development for American.

To expand the availability of aviation talent and help diversify the pilot population, CCBC launched the CCBC Aviation Academy in 2015. The CCBC Aviation Academy capitalizes on CCBC’s nationally distinctive School of Aviation Sciences, whose offerings include one of the nation’s top-rankedair traffic control programs and a professional pilot program that has been a majorsource of talent to industry nationwide for nearly 50 years. 

By engaging students early in their high school experience and providing them high-impact educational experiences such as flying planes, visiting an active air traffic control tower, or operating a full-motion flight simulator, the College delivers innovative exposure tocareer pathways in aviation.

Students in the CCBC Aviation Academy pursue educational pathways in the Professional Pilot, Air

Traffic Control, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles programs. The Aviation Academy is offered at the CCBC Aviation Sciences Center at the Beaver County Airport and the Parkway West Career and Technology Center near the Pittsburgh International Airport.

“CCBC’s Aviation Academy is providing Western Pennsylvania’s high school students with high-impact, high-tech education experiences, preparing them for available aviation careers after graduation,” said CCBC Interim President Dr. Roger Davis. “We thank American Airlines for their continued partnership and support.”

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the aeronautics industry is growing significantly, with an anticipated 11% increase in the number of airline and commercial pilots in the next decade alone.  Within the next 20 years, the airline industry expects to hire almost 100,000 pilots. Growth alone is not driving this development. The retirements of existing pilots who are aging out of the system and changes in industry regulations will combine to further increase these shifts. As the industry realigns its workforce for the 21st century, partnerships between corporate employers and comprehensive aeronautics programs like CCBC’s are critical to ensuring a pipeline of talent for the industry.