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More Schools Getting in on AMT Programs

Educators Cotton to Widespread Need for Aviation Professionals

Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover, Massachusetts is joining the number of schools expanding their operations to address the shortage of qualified aeronautical personnel.

The school is a 4-year tech high school serving the local communities of Andover, Lawrence, and Methuen, and they're moving into a new hangar at the Lawrence Municipal Airport to provide instruction regarding aircraft maintenance. The program will begin on a trial basis for 2024, moving on to a full-time 4-year program next September. If successful, students will leave with their Airframe certification at the end of their tenure there.

“The program is to train students for engine repair and the frame, which means everything on the outside of the plane, the wings, the metal parts,” said Superintendent John Lavoie.

The school currently owns a trio of aircraft to train on, with a helicopter on the way. But that's not enough to gain approval for their Airframe curriculum - they need to have an airfield to touch on the full breadth of knowledge needed for the certification.

“The reason we need to purchase this hangar is to get the program approved from the Federal Aviation Administration,” Lavoie added. “We need to have a workshop out at the airport in order to be able to move the planes around, and the only place you can move planes around is at an airport.”

The hangar addition isn't a 'gimme', however. The school will require approval to expand beyond its chartered location as founded. Normally, the voters would have to approve an expansion to new locations in the city, but the tech school has a workaround: The hangar will change hands from municipal ownership designated as a school facility, allowing the city of Lawrence to sell it to the school . The total cost will be $300,000 for the new structure, with a $4 million grant used to kickstart the program inside.

“It’s been a huge venture and an expensive venture,” Lavoie said. “Just the equipment needed to train kids is about $1.5 million in this career area.”



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