JobsNOW: Career in flight can start with training in high school

Mahoning County Career and Technical Center has four planes and a helicopter to give students hands-on experience

Mahoning County Career and Technical Center, Canfield, Aviation Maintenance


CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Many employers say they need more job-ready people out of high school and that college isn’t for everyone. Vocational training in high school can help prepare students for the workforce and the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center has a hands-on program to do just that.

MCCTC’s aviation maintenance program teaches students the necessary technical skills to keep planes flying. They go deep inside a plane to make sure the ailerons are level.

The aviation maintenance program teaches the nuts and bolts — how to inspect and put components together. It offers everything to prepare students for FAA tests to be a certified airframe and powerplant mechanic.

“There’s a lot to it. They gotta be on it all the time and they gotta make sure they’re turning their work in because if the FAA comes in and audits, they gotta show the FAA that they have the ability to be an aircraft mechanic,” said Scott Rowe, MCCTC Aviation Maintenance Instructor.

The sky’s the limit for a career in aviation but it starts from the ground up for every student.

“I have a couple students out there who will tell you the most they did before they got here was put a chain on their bicycle,” Rowe said.

Rowe is a 1989 graduate of the program. He worked in aviation for a dozen years and is now back at MCCTC teaching the program.

Cory Kavalchek figured out midway through his junior year that this is how he wanted to start preparing for a career. The 17-year-old drives an hour every day from Boston Township to MCCTC in Canfield.

“I just like coming here, having the planes here, and just knowing that one day, I’ll know how to take it apart and put it together again,” he said.

MCCTC has four planes and a helicopter so students can get that hands-on experience and be ready for a good-paying career when they graduate. The program has doubled in size within the last five years.

“It’s not the only one with this program but it’s the most cost-effective one. If I were to go to another one, it would cost $25,000 to $35,000,” Kavalchek said. “This one, just have to pay lab fees and tools, that’s about it.”

Kavalchek’s father took his Federal Aviation Administration test at the same school. He now works for United Airlines and his son wants to join him.

The vocational school has graduates working for American Airlines, Delta, and United, plus a former student working on Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.

To learn more about the aviation maintenance program, visit MCCTC’s website.

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