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GAVC looking at aviation program

MORRIS – Grundy Area Vocational Center is looking at aviation as a new course of study in the upcoming years.

“As always we are looking at new courses,” Director Lance Copes said Monday. “We’re currently just fact finding, but we have some parents and students who have expressed an interest in aviation.”

Kent Bugg, Coal City Community Unit School District 1 superintendent, told board members at the Coal City school board meeting Wednesday that GAVC had been approached about aviation and hopes to know more in the future.

Copes said the earliest it would be implemented would be two years from now.

“There are two aviation programs in the state currently,” he said. “We will be talking to the schools and visiting to see how their programs are working.”

He said about 12 to 15 years ago GAVC looked at aviation mechanics, but they found there wasn’t enough student interest to warrant the class.

After GAVC gathers facts this time, staff will again present it to the students through guidance counselors to see how much interest there is before moving forward.

“We will also look at what career opportunities will help the students after leaving GAVC,” Copes said. “We’ll look at what is the need for a pilot in the next 10 years.”

He said GAVC doesn’t want to provide students with an education if there is no career path.

Initial research has shown that after 9/11 there were a lot of pilots who retired, and the next level of pilots will be hitting retirement age in the next 10 years or so.

“When the middle level starts to retire they will need younger pilots,” Copes said. “We need to get hard solid numbers as we look toward the future.”

He said GAVC currently has a great relationship with the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District for its fire science program and he’d like to see a relationship with the Morris Municipal Airport if the aviation program becomes a reality.

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