Online Staff Report
The Greater Rockford Airport Authority (GRAA) and Rock Valley College (RVC) broke ground on the new RVC Aviation Maintenance Technology Program facility Friday, July 18. The 40,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building will be on the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) grounds. The facility will house the RVC educational course of study for aeronautical maintenance and repair and will allow RVC to expand and enhance its current program.
Rockford is one of the largest epicenters of aerospace activity in the country with more than 200 aerospace suppliers operating in the region. To leverage this industry and further grow and attract new businesses, GRAA and RVC recognized the need to grow the region’s educated workforce.
“As a thriving aerospace cluster, we consistently receive inquiries from businesses exploring expansion, growth and relocation opportunities,” said Mike Dunn, executive director, Chicago Rockford International Airport. “And quite frankly, one of the determining factors is whether or not we have a distinctly aligned workforce to support the type of specialization required. We are thrilled to now be able to share with prospects that our workforce will be even more strongly aligned. This distinction will continue to propel the region forward in being an aerospace leader.”
The RVC Aviation Maintenance Program is designed to promote economic development and position a more strongly educated and aligned workforce for the region. The new facility will be quadruple the size of the existing program facility complete with six classrooms, labs and a larger hangar. The program will have the capacity for 150 students. Graduates of the Aviation Maintenance Technology Program are prepared to assume positions as airline or general aviation engine and/or airframe mechanics.
“RVC is pleased to be in partnerships with a number of businesses and public entities, including Woodward, Eclipse and the airport,” said Mike Mastroianni, president, Rock Valley College. “These partnerships help us to provide affordable credentialing opportunities to prepare individuals to secure good jobs. This is an exciting time for the college, airport and the entire Rockford region.”
Once complete and operational, the facility is expected to employ more than 20 direct, indirect and induced employees and create new jobs for the area. The total annual RVC facility is expected to generate approximately $1 million. The construction of the RVC facility is expected to create approximately 40 jobs and bring an economic impact of more than $5.1 million to the region.
Visit http://www.rockvalleycollege.edu/Courses/Programs/Aviation/index.cfm for program information.
RFD is served by two airlines, Allegiant and Apple Vacations. RFD serves eight non-stop destinations including Cancun, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana and Tampa Bay. RFD was named the 2013 Primary Airport of the Year by the Illinois Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics. For more about RFD and flight schedules, visit FlyRFD.com.
Rock Valley College is a comprehensive two-year community college in Rockford, offering more than 100 courses for transfer, career programs and certificates. Founded in 1964, the college is part of the 48-institution Illinois Community College System. The college serves all of Winnebago County, most of Boone County and portions of Ogle, Stephenson, McHenry and DeKalb counties. The total population served is more than 340,000.
Posted July 18, 2014