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Airport, OTC team up to create new program that will train students in aviation maintenance

Ground was broken Monday for the new facility at the Springfield-Branson National Airport.

In 2025, the first cohort of students in the new two-year Airframe and Powerplant training program at Ozarks Technical Community College will begin their studies.

OTC broke ground Monday on the aviation maintenance training building at Premier Flight Center at the old Springfield-Branson National Airport terminal. Students will learn to service, maintain and repair everything in an aircraft.

The airport’s Director of Aviation Brian Weiler said the need for trained aviation professionals is tremendous.

"And it’s not just in Springfield, it’s statewide, nationwide," he said. "My counterparts from other airports — the biggest issue we’re struggling with now is workforce.”

Weiler said demand for both aviation and maintenance technicians will continue well into the future. He cited a recent outlook report by Boeing that estimates there will be a need for over 610,000 aviation technicians over the next two decades.

OTC pointed to a BKD market analysis that showed aviation maintenance in the 98th percentile for regional employment demand.

American Airlines opened a maintenance facility hub in Springfield recently, which increased the need for qualified airframe and powerplant professionals.

The average wage for an aviation maintenance professional in Missouri is $62,490, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Weiler said graduates of the new program will have many opportunities locally, regionally and nationally. But plans are in place to keep them here.

“We are actually setting aside multiple spaces for future airline maintenance spaces here — with the goal of becoming a regional hub for airlines' maintenance activity,” said Weiler.

The Airframe and Powerplant training building is being funded with a $3 million federal grant, $5 million from the State of Missouri and $750,000 each in American Rescue Plan Act allocations from Springfield and Greene County.