Northeast Iowa Community College creates Avionics program to meet in-demand workforce need.
Friday, April 23, 2021
Successful completion of the three-semester, nine-month Avionics Electronic Technician diploma program will prepare students for industry certifications that will enable graduates to legally repair aircraft avionics equipment.
PEOSTA, Iowa—In response to critical workforce needs in the region’s aviation industry, Northeast Iowa Community College is introducing a new Avionics Electronic Technician program in fall 2021.
Pending Iowa Department of Education approval, the Avionics Electronic Technician program, will train students in the skills needed to work on aircraft electronics. Students will learn to identify, troubleshoot and repair avionics systems using Federal Aircraft Administration (FAA) approved techniques, according to Mark Gerein, NICC dean of advanced manufacturing, industrial technology and computer science.
“We think this is a unique opportunity to partner with local aviation educators and industry experts to provide a niche educational need. The Avionics Electronic Technician program will provide basic electronics component theory and hands-on training to the student passionate about the aviation industry. The program has the potential to be a feeder into other aviation careers. Additionally, the development of electronics could branch to other learning streams for careers in robotics, automotive, transportation, agricultural electronics and drone technology,” Gerein said.
One of only two avionics programs in Iowa, the new Peosta campus program will train students in basic electrical and electronics component theory, aircraft wiring, systems testing, avionics troubleshooting, and radio systems components and integration.
The University of Dubuque (UD) partnered with NICC on curriculum development for the new program. Joan Kariuki, is a UD instructor of aviation, aviation maintenance assistant and serves on the Advisory Board for the program at NICC.
“The aviation industry continues to evolve and will see an increased demand for a highly skilled workforce. The University of Dubuque and Northeast Iowa Community College are coming together to ensure that this demand is met locally and beyond the region,” stated Kariuki. “This partnership will leverage UD’s aviation experience in training professional pilots, teaching courses in aviation management and unmanned aerial systems with the Avionics Electronic Technician program to address the future industry workforce demands.”
Tri-state area employers have direct, in-demand needs for trained avionics personnel, added Todd Dalsing, Dubuque Regional Airport director. Dalsing serves as a member on the new program’s Advisory Board and provided critical input on curriculum.
“Now that we are emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is increasing demand for aviation jobs due to furloughs, early retirements, previous employees finding other work and other workforce changes. Pilots, ground handlers, aircraft maintenance, avionics technicians and many other skilled professionals are needed to ensure flights proceed as scheduled,” Dalsing explained.
EMSI analysis of employment opportunities at all airports within a 100-mile radius from the center of the College's district area showed strong job growth for avionics technicians and aircraft mechanics and service technicians. Through 2029, the research projected 814 annual job openings for both occupations with a combined median hourly wage of $29.82.
Successful completion of the three-semester, nine-month Avionics Electronic Technician diploma program will prepare students for industry certifications that will enable graduates to legally repair aircraft avionics equipment. For more information the program, visit Northeast Iowa Community College’s website at www.nicc.edu/avionics.