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Saint Francis University Teams Up With John Murtha Cambria County Airport For Aviation Classes

This aircraft behind me is just one of the handful here at the Johnstown John Murtha Cambria County Airport, where college students are getting hands-on experience, learning about the possibility of a future career in aviation.

“It’s a way for students to either join the ranks of commercial pilots.

“This pathway is generated somewhat in part by the very intense shortage of both pilots and mechanics.”

Educators at Saint Francis University say the program that they and airport officials are collaborating on will not only help fill available job positions in aviation, but also help students who are going into other industries.

“If you can pair a degree with a license, that gives you a lot more options and flexibility to move around inside the world of aviation.”

According to the company Boeing, hundreds of thousands of job positions in aviation need to be filled in the next few decades.

Br. Marius Strom, with Saint Francis University, says he and others there are seeing an uptick in engagement, since the program began in 2018.

“I’ve been really happy with the variety of students that are coming into the program.”

Program director, Brianna Pavkovich, says the piloting program is in full swing, but people can not yet enroll in the maintenance program.

“I already have a high amount of inquiries that people are constantly reaching out to, you know, see when we are up and going. We are pending certification from the F.A.A.”

Pavkovich says organizers expect maintenance oriented classes to be open by fall of 2024.

They say current classes involve ground school, simulated, and real plane flights.

One of the students says he is now working to educate more people.

“I’ve been having a great time flying here at Nulton. The people are great. The staff is great, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Students say they hope this increase in engagement will help offset the job shortages, in both the local and abroad aviation industry.

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