Kentucky has launched a program that gives military veterans a fast track to earn certification in aviation mechanics.
Veterans who have experience working on military aircraft can now get credit for their skills that can be used toward certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. The new program called VALLO, which stands for Veterans Accelerated Learning for Licensed Occupations, is available at Somerset Community College and Jefferson Community and Technical College.
Rick Johnson is vice president of the Kentucky Science and Technology Corporation in Lexington, which does innovation-based economic development for the state and federal government, as well as industry. He said the fast-track certification now available in Kentucky is geared to help military veterans transition to high-paying jobs in the state’s growing aerospace industry.
“For example in the Army, if you kept C-130s or Blackhawks flying you can get FAA certification in one semester at Somerset Community College,” said Johnson.
The program has been initiated due to the availability of training through the Kentucky Community and Technical College System.
“The team we have at KCTCS discovered that two of their campuses have FAA certified maintenance technician programs and their instructors there will give credit for education and experience in the military and now that’s been formalized,” said Johnson.
The other partners in the program are the University of Louisville and the Kentucky Commission on Military Affairs.
Kentucky ranks second in the U.S. in the export of aviation and aerospace products and the nation is facing a critical shortage of trained workers in that sector, according to Stewart Ditto, executive director of the Kentucky Aerospace Industry Commission.