$14.9M U.S. Department of Labor grant brought national partners to WATC; event launches aviation curriculum development efforts

Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) hosted the first-ever meeting of the National Aviation Consortium (NAC). More than 40 participants from national partners joined WATC February 13-14 at the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT).

NAC was formed to pursue a $14.9M grant which was awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor in October, 2012. The consortium will use the grant to develop industry-approved aviation manufacturing training curricula for nationwide implementation.

In addition to WATC, the lead institution, colleges from four other states comprise the consortium: Tulsa Community College (Okla.), Ivy Tech Community College (Ind.), Guilford Technical Community College (N.C.), and Edmonds Community College (Wash.).

Each college is located in a service area that contains an aviation manufacturing cluster. Primary administration of the grant is headquartered at WATC and each college contributes a project coordinator.

This first annual peer-to-peer conference allowed the partner colleges to share their best practices and continue developing action plans as the next steps in moving the project forward.

“The conference gave everyone the opportunity to meet face-to-face and begin building the collaboration and commitment that is so important to completing a national project like this,” said Denise Pfeifer, NAC Grant Project Manager.

Keynote speaker, Jennifer McNelly, president of the Manufacturing Institute in Washington, D.C. explained the national need for aviation and gave an overview of the project.

Additional sessions guided faculty and instructors through a discussion on curriculum integration and assessments. Project coordinators from each college received training on grant compliance and implementation.

“The goal of this meeting was to kick-off the grant and start working as a team as we implement this project – and I would have to say we accomplished that goal,” said Pfeifer.

For those who could not attend the two day conference, technology was used to live stream presentations right to their desktops.

Wichita Area Technical College
4004 N Webb Rd
Wichita, Kansas, 67226
Phone: 316-677-9400