RCTC hosts aviation careers open house

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(ABC 6 News) – The pandemic has caused a shortage of workers in every job sector, that includes the airline industry.

Rochester Community and Technical College hosted an event Thursday night to highlight its aviation program and the need to get the next generation of pilots into the skies.

"We want to help feed the industry and our regional flights that are coming out of Rochester, there’s a huge demand for pilots so we want to be a part of that solution to that shortfall," Michelle Pyfferoen, Vice President of Academic Affairs at RCTC, said.

RCTC is promoting careers in the aviation industry, along with its two-year Aviation Pilot Program that can transfer to a 4-year degree or can get students into the airline industry right after graduation.

The open house provided information for students who want to pursue a career in aviation. Most of them were high schoolers looking ahead to the future.

"A lot of high school students who are like ‘what do I need to do to start preparing for that?’ So it’s good that they’re thinking of what they want to do prior to graduating from high school," Pyfferoen said.

This job fair was not only for those interested in being a pilot but for other jobs like Airport Logistics & Management and Flight Support Operations.

RCTC’s Aviation Pilot Program isn’t just for jobs in big commercial airlines.

"But the opportunities in charter flights, in private jet flights, in corporate opportunities, in helicopter, in medical. There’s just a whole host of different opportunities for students," Pyfferoen said.

This is the fourth year RCTC has held this aviation program and it has been a success.

"There’s really not a better time to be a pilot. They’re hiring like crazy, the pay has gone up substantially compared to previous years. And they’re actually making it a lot easier in terms of the barriers that there are to becoming a pilot like they’re no longer requiring a four-year degree," Carson Hanna said.

Hanna is in his final year of the Aviation Pilot Program at RCTC. He hopes to fly for commercial airlines or corporate jets.

"Ever since I was a kid and I actually had my first flight in Rochester when I was 10 years old and I got my pilot’s license here about a year and a half ago so it’s kind of nice to start and finish I guess at the same airport," Hanna said.

To learn more about RCTC’s Aviation Pilot Program, click here.