Midland College Board Members to Talk About Aviation Maintenance Program

Examining options for reopening the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Midland College is on the board’s agenda on Tuesday.

The board will hold its monthly meeting at 4 p.m. in the Cowden Rotary Community Hall at the June & Frank Cowden Jr. Dining Hall.

Over the past few months, efforts have been made to revitalize the aircraft maintenance technology program. In the spring, a meeting at the program house at Midland International Airport to see what support there was to keep the program going.

This is where officials from Kepler Aerospace, a spaceport tenant, declared the need for aircraft mechanics. In subsequent town hall meetings and in opinion pieces in the Reporter-Telegram, Ed and Dianne Anderson stated the need to train and retain technicians, particularly if Midland Development Corp. wanted to grow the aerospace economy it established with AST & Science and Kepler Aerospace, not to mention charter aircraft companies like Deerhorn Aviation.

In a July op-ed, Ed Anderson wrote, “As of this writing, there are 22-24 positions available for AMTs in Midland, Odessa and Andrews. The number is the result of a survey conducted last month of nine aviation-related companies. … We have a booming aviation and aerospace industry in Midland, but we have competition. A Permian Basin company recently lost AMTs to Van Horn-based Blue Origin.

Anderson told the Reporter-Telegram in an email on Monday that he “hopes the board will vote to reopen the Aviation Maintenance Technology (airframe and power plant) program at Midland College.”

“The board has been hearing from the community over the past few months, and it’s clear the community wants this program revived,” Anderson wrote. “No one has come forward to say, ‘We should keep this school closed.’ If the board decides to reopen the school, trustees and administration will likely expect those who have come forward to support the school to be closely involved in its future success. This goal is achievable; we can make this school a precious and valuable part of Midland College and the Permian Basin.

Midland College President Steve Thomas said in April there was no backup of the aviation maintenance technology program at Midland College, even if someone came with the money to help finance it.

Midland College board members have been talking about the program behind closed doors since Thomas made the comments.

“We have already followed procedures to ‘suspend’ the program, which means we have notified the FAA and accrediting agencies of the program,” Thomas said in the statement. “We also informed the advisory board, faculty and students over a year ago that the program was closing. Professors are retiring and we are not recruiting new students. We anticipate other uses for the installation.

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