Growth Report 1: MCTA, PIA Launch Aviation Careers

VIENNA, Ohio – Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics and Mahoning & Columbiana Training Association are helping dozens of Ohioans receive funding and training to begin careers as sought-after aviation mechanics.

“MCTA offers a fantastic program that creates a pathway to employment for talented hands-on learners who may not otherwise be able to afford the cost of training and testing that is required to start aviation maintenance careers,” says PIA President and CEO Suzanne Markle.

To date, more than 30 graduates from PIA’s Youngstown campus have used the MCTA program to launch their careers in aviation maintenance or related mechanical fields.

MCTA is the fiscal agent for the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act in Mahoning and Columbiana counties and administers federal training funds for qualified individuals to gain marketable skills.

Most MCTA participants who graduate from PIA Youngstown have accepted jobs from Ohio employers, including ATI Aviation Services, Constant Aviation, Endeavor Air and PSA Airlines.

MCTA can fund up to $9,500 a year for up to two years for schooling/training that leads to a trade-recognized certificate, associate degree or for the final two years of a bachelor’s degree.

To receive funding, applicants must meet MCTA eligibility requirements and not be in default or have student loans.

“The primary focus of the MCTA program is always employability,” says Laura Gatrell, MCTA Mahoning County Adult Services coordinator. “Through our workshops and assessments, we match young adults to the educational and training opportunities that will help them obtain employment in secure and stable careers that are considered top jobs by the Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.”

Top jobs include aviation maintenance that had a median average salary of $65,380 in May 2021 for aircraft maintenance technicians and $69,280 for avionics technicians, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The department projects the field will grow at 6% between 2020 and 2030, as fast the national average for other growth industries.

Aircraft builder Boeing Corp.’s 2022-2041 Pilot and Technician Outlook projects the commercial airline industry will need to add 134,000 maintenance technicians in North America over the next 20 years. That’s more than 6,500 new technicians per year.

PIA graduates with an Airframe & Powerplant license can work in a variety of related fields, including aerospace.

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics is a nonprofit family of schools that offers programs in aviation maintenance and aviation electronics.

Pictured at top: Kristen Hunt is a student at the school, which traces its roots to 1929.