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Aviation Degree at PCC Takes Flight this Summer

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Portland Community College and airline industry partners will join forces this summer to begin the Associate of Applied Science degree in Aviation Science. Programs in Building Inspection Technology, Construction Management Technology, Facilities Maintenance, and Gerontological Services also received DOE approval on May 21.

The PCC Aviation Science degree program, approved May 21 by the Oregon Department of Education, is a two-year degree designed to train students to become qualified professional pilots.

Together with Hillsboro Aviation, the Northwest’s largest flight training school, and expressed support from the likes of Horizon Air, Portland’s FlightCraft, Louisiana-Pacific, and others, the PCC aviation degree appears ready for take off. The program will be located at the college’s Rock Creek Campus in Washington County and at Hillsboro Aviation in Hillsboro.

Jonathan Parker, dean of Aviation Programs at PCC, and Max Lyons, vice-president and general manager of Hillsboro Aviation, shared a vision to create a professional pilot training program with a reputation as one of the best in the nation. The goal of this program would be to exceed the needs of employers and minimize employer-provided training. Parker also sees this degree and training program fulfilling a potential shortage of trained pilots in the very near future.

"The PCC program is designed to address the upcoming shortage of professional pilots by working with local employers to meet their skill requirements," said Parker, noting that about 50 percent of the 80,000 professional pilots today will retire in the next 10 years. "Meanwhile, airlines are buying more planes and expanding routesthe current number of students in aviation nationally will not keep up with the retirement rate."

To keep pace with that retirement rate and exceed employer expectations, the crafting of the program required some insider knowledge. That’s when Parker and Lyons brought in employees of Horizon Air to sit in on industry advisory committees.

"Horizon Air is very interested in working with PCC and Hillsboro Aviation to focus professional pilot training to the industry’s needs," said Lamar Haugaard, chief pilot for Horizon Air. "This will speed up the graduate’s readiness for employment in the airline industry. We need the PCC program to help meet our needs for 100-130 new pilots a year."

Since the 1970s, PCC has offered a two-year associate’s degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology to prepare mechanics for the aviation industry. PCC has two service hangars on-site at the Rock Creek Campus for these students.

The new two-year Aviation Science degree would give students who complete the prescribed course of study Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certificates with ratings from Private Pilot to Multi-Engine Instructor.

"This new program will complement and enhance what is already available at PCC Rock Creek," said PCC’s Parker.

Course work and tests will be administered at the Rock Creek Campus, where students will take 38 credit hours of general education and restricted elective courses and 24 credit hours covering aviation topics. Flight training classes will be taken at Hillsboro Aviation’s flight school training facility. By the completion of flight training, the student will have logged at least 277 hours in single and multi-engine aircraft.

"We need a source of skilled pilots and this program is designed to train students beyond the FAA minimums," said John Hardy, chief pilot for FlightCraft. "This reduces our training costs and also assures us that we are hiring pilots who know safe operation (procedures)."

For more information on the Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Science degree at PCC, or how to enroll in the program, call the Rock Creek Aviation department at 614-7246, or Houston Hickenbottom at Hillsboro Aviation, 648-2831.

Other PCC programs receiving state Department of Education approval were:

Building Inspection Technology

Portland Community College was approached by local government agencies and the building construction industry to offer an academic program that would both serve as continuing education for building inspectors and to meet part of the requirements for state certification as a building inspector and plans examiner. There is no other program in the Portland area offering these courses. The PCC program has already been approved by the State Building Codes office as meeting the requirements for state certification.

Construction Management Technology

This course is designed to develop the technical and management qualifications and life skills to enter the construction management industry. The core curriculum includes construction materials and methods, cost estimating, scheduling, project management, construction safety, structural engineering concepts, construction law, computer applications, and cooperative education and practicum course components. In addition, this program provides cross-training for Building Construction Technology students, current industry owners and workers to improve and enhance their construction management skills

Facilities Maintenance

Portland Community College was approached two years ago by Intel Corporation to develop a new program in facilities maintenance. The specific need was for graduates trained to manage all facilities systems within a specific environment. Further investigation by PCC found other businesses and industries needing the same expertise. An advisory committee was formed, and, with a generous grant from the Oregon Economic Development Department, a degree program was developed by PCC faculty. The new degree program consists of current courses in trade extension, four new courses developed for this degree, and the general education requirements.

Gerontological Services

Gerontological Services is an instructional program that describes the study of the characteristics, attitudes, behavior and needs of older people in family settings, assisted living and re-habilitation facilities, nursing homes and other locations. Also taught will be the methods of organizing services for them. Includes instruction in providing dependent care, serving the physical, social, economical, and psychological needs and concerns of the elderly, related legislation, andcommunity resources.

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »