Study: Georgia ranks no. 1 in aerospace manufacturing

September 14, 2017
South Georgia Tech Aviation Maintenance student Bailey Mills said he loves to work on planes (Source: WALB)
South Georgia Tech Aviation Maintenance student Bailey Mills said he loves to work on planes (Source: WALB)

Published:Thursday, September 14th 2017, 6:26 am EDT
Updated:Thursday, September 14th 2017, 6:48 am EDT
By Zachary Logan, Reporter

Aerospace manufacturing is booming in Georgia. A recent study shows the state is number one when it comes to aviation maintenance.

That’s good news for the more than 20 students currently enrolled in South Georgia Technical College’s Aviation Program.

Dr. John Watford, President of South Georgia Technical College, told WALB News 10 that the program is a rigorous one.

“That’s what you want. If you’re in an airplane and about to takeoff, you don’t want to think that that student missed ten minutes of class when something was covered,” said Dr. Watford.

But students say they don’t mind the work because they know they’ll most likely find a job.

Bailey Mills is currently enrolled in the Aviation Maintenance and Technology Program at South Georgia Technical College.

“There’s nothing cooler than an airplane. I mean there’s nothing,” said Mills.

Mills and the other students enrolled in the program are preparing to go into one of the state’s biggest industries.

“It really interests me a lot to take a piece of metal and get it to fly. That’s an amazing thing,” said Mills.

Georgia’s Department of Economic Development said a recent study ranked Georgia as number one when it comes to aerospace manufacturing.

“It’s really exciting because it means we’re all going to get jobs,” said Mills.

The state said 99,000 Georgians are employed by one of the 800 aerospace companies located throughout the state.

Charles Christmas is an instructor for the college’s maintenance program. He said there’s a big need for more certified mechanics.

“There’s a shortage of airframe and powerplant mechanics in the industry and there’s retiring mechanics whether it’s at Delta, United, American, or general aviation,” said Christmas.

And these jobs are paying big.

“They’re great jobs. A student graduating with us is looking to earn $40,000 right after school,” said Christmas.

And after more than six years in the industry, Christmas said these future mechanics could possibly make up to six figures.

“That’s what the industry is paying now and it’s not going to let up anytime soon,” Christmas added.

And with just a little more than a year to go, Mills said he’s excited for the future.

“This is really where my heart is at. I love what I’m doing here,” Mills said.

Dr. Watford said students who graduate from the program go on to work for a number of different companies, including Thrush, Gulfstream, and Delta which are all in Georgia.
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