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July 9, 2009

North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG)

The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG) is carrying out the North Texas Aviation Education Initiative: Development and Implementation. This initiative is being initiated by NCTCOG from a widely recognized need for additional aviation workforce regionally and nationally. Despite its preeminence in the aviation industry, and the demonstrated need to train additional aviation professionals, the region lacks both a public university with a comprehensive four-year college program for students who would like to pursue an aviation career and a clear path for students interested in aviation careers. The need for a comprehensive public education aviation program was first documented by a Texas Transportation Institute report (2003) and later by NCTCOG’s New Technology and Industry Trends Report (2007). The goal of this initiative is to coordinate with regional industry and academic partners to form a complete and thorough aviation academic program and implement it in the region. This initiative will address the needs at various academic levels including university, community college, trade school, high school, and junior high as well as their combination with existing regional resources and industry outreach efforts.

06/30/09: I attended the Aviation Education Initiative, sponsored by the North Central Texas Council of Governments at their Arlington, TX offices. There was a good turnout with approximately 33 attendees/participants. The meeting was started with introductions around the table with most reps being from community colleges and UNT (University of North Texas). The first half of the meeting was a PowerPoint presentation presented by Michael Mallonee updating the status of the Aviation Education Initiative. Here is the link to the .ppt:

The initiative was divided up into five tasks, with two complete and the final task to be wrapped up by December, '09. In Dec. a final report should be issued with a final product/plan to offer.

The second half of the meeting was open to questions and discussion. Items discussed included the preliminary findings and the biggest concern of affordability of education for aviation careers. The preliminary findings were:

  - Internet primary information source,
  - More school choices needed locally,
  - Residents go out of state for education opportunities in aviation,
  - There are other aviation careers other than pilot,
  - Education should start at the high school level,
  - UNT developing a program in aviation logistics.

To summarize, a lot of work has been completed with a lot of work yet to go. The initiative is making great strides with a limited budget of $125,000. There are a lot of programs out there that need to be interwoven, especially the 2 into 4 year programs. There is a huge need for local programs, beginning at the high school level. And there is a need for publicizing the present and future programs.

There will be other meetings, with one coming up in September.  If my schedule will allow, I plan on attending.

Thanks and regards,

Beau McVay
McKinney, Texas

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