The collaboration that provides students in Marion and Grant County to take aviation and airplane maintenance classes in high school earned a special accolade from the Indiana Department of Education recently.
At their annual Awards for Excellence event Tuesday, Feb. 26 — which celebrated accomplished students, programs, and business partnerships in career and technical education throughout the state — the IDOE recognized the Marion Regional Career Center’s Aviation Academy with a Partnership Award.
Students in Marion Regional Career Center’s aviation maintenance class get plenty of hands-on learning at the Marion Municipal Airport.
The Aviation Academy is a partnership between MRCC, the Marion Municipal Airport, Air Marion, the City of Marion, and the Jim McKinney Air & Space Foundation. These partners see aviation as a growing area and one of the keys to attracting new businesses to Grant County. Students can participate in a two-year program in either aviation/flight operations or aviation mechanics. Both programs are housed at Marion Municipal Airport.
The Aviation Academy is unique in this region. The partners in the program each have a specific role to play, but decisions are made collectively. MRCC is responsible for teachers, students, and everyday classroom operations. Marion Municipal Airport provides use of the terminal and organizes trained pilots to fly with the students; every student receives at least five hours of flight time. The City of Marion owns the hanger that has a classroom built into it for the program. The Jim McKinney Air & Space Foundation was created to support the MRCC Aviation Academy, and has contributed funding for the fuel required to fly students, as well as other equipment and materials.
This partnership is a win-win for all involved, as we work together to help build a brighter future for our students, our school, and our community.
Marion Mayor Jess Alumbaugh expressed gratitude for the collaborative effort.
“The City of Marion values our partnership with Marion Community Schools and the Marion Airport," he said in a news release from the city. "The Aviation Academy provides a special career pathway for our area high school students and prepares them for a lifetime of success.”
The MRCC Aviation Academy is also assisting in the development of a four-year curriculum through the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), MRCC Director Mike Ripperger noted. MRCC was chosen two years ago as 1 of 150 schools to assist the AOPA in this effort. Once the curriculum is finalized, it will be available to schools nationwide.
Students at the MRCC Aviation Academy choose from two pathways: aviation/?flight operations or aviation mechanics. This year, there are four students enrolled in the operations pathway, and 11 in the mechanics pathway. Five students are currently in the introductory class that feeds into both pathways. MRCC plans to also offer drone flight certification options to students next year.
MRCC currently has 16 programs in total to choose from, with the mission to develop every student’s technical, academic, and job readiness skills. MRCC also offers programs in fields such as culinary arts, health, and information technology. Even more programs will be coming soon.
Marion Regional Career Center programs are open to students at Marion High School and participating schools throughout the county. Students interested in applying should contact MRCC Student Support Staff and Community Specialist Nathan McNeely at 765-664-9091 or firstname.lastname@example.org.