Palm Springs Air Museum and Riverside County Join Forces for Aviation Career Training in Thermal
THERMAL – Riverside County and the Palm Springs Air Museum are teaming up to develop a vocational program in the eastern Coachella Valley to train people for careers in the aviation industry.
The goal of the partnership is to create a 2,000-hour or common equivalent certificate program in aircraft and power plant maintenance. The county and museum are working to secure a nationally recognized and accredited educational institution to coordinate the program on county-owned land at the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport in Thermal.
“We’re very excited by this joint program and the job opportunities for valley residents, especially in the eastern Coachella Valley, where there is much growth,” said Fred Bell, vice chairman and managing director of the Palm Springs Air Museum. “This is the vital next step in a process that was started by the Air Museum over two years ago. Whether it’s teaching American history or vital math and science skills, we are committed, as a cultural institution, to improving the lives of our valley’s youth.”
The interim site of the proposed aviation training program will be in the vacant emergency services hangar at the Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport.
“Our county airport is an ideal location for a first-class vocational training program that would prepare people to meet the growing demand for skilled labor in the aviation industry,” said Supervisor John J. Benoit. “This is a very exciting endeavor, and I look forward to working with the Palm Springs Air Museum to train people in the eastern Coachella Valley for rewarding careers in aviation.”
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and the Economic Development Agency’s aviation and workforce development divisions will also provide support to the program, tentatively called the Riverside County Aviation Technical Training Program.
The proposed timeline calls for the facility to begin offering non-accredited aviation-related programs in fall 2015, with certificated programs beginning in September 2016.
Riverside County owns land adjacent to the hangar which has been designated for development as a future aviation academy. A permanent facility on this land is expected to be constructed and operational by September 2018.