ST Engineering has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pensacola State College to explore setting up an Aviation Training Academy in Pensacola, Florida. The collaboration is part of ST Engineering’s continued growth and expansion plans in Pensacola, where it is developing an airframe MRO complex that comprises four hangars at Pensacola International Airport when completed. The MoU was signed at the official opening of the airframe MRO complex’s second hangar.  

Pensacola State College is the oldest and largest college in the Florida Panhandle, offering multiple academic and career options including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, advanced technical certificates, college credit certificates, vocational certificates and diplomas. Under the agreement, ST Engineering and Pensacola State College will collaborate to develop a Federal Aviation Administration Part 147 Aircraft Maintenance Technician School at the Pensacola International Airport. ST Engineering will use its expertise and experience as a global aviation MRO provider to develop the apprenticeship program and provide “direct to industry” job opportunities for the academy’s apprentices, while Pensacola State College will seek FAA approval for the certification of the academy partnership and work together with ST Engineering to strengthen public awareness of career opportunities in the aviation sector.

Skilled aviation maintenance professionals are in high demand not only in the U.S., but across the world. Targeting to roll out training in 2024, the academy will help support the talent needs of ST Engineering’s airframe MRO complex in Pensacola, as well as meet the hiring needs of the aviation industry in the region at large.

The maintenance hangar at the Pensacola International Airport is the second of four hangars at an airframe Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) complex being developed by ST Engineering. The new 177,000-square foot hangar features two bays capable of accommodating widebody aircraft, effectively doubling ST Engineering's existing capacity in Pensacola and further solidifying its presence in the region. The hangar, which currently supports a major customer's Airbus A300 program, started operations in January this year. When fully operational, it is expected to generate over 400 new high-value job opportunities for the local community.

The airframe MRO complex that the new hangar is a part of is a project co-funded by ST Engineering, Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., the City of Pensacola, Escambia County, the State of Florida, and various state and federal organizations. Upon completion, the complex will have a capacity of over two million man-hours and is projected to generate over 1,700 jobs, including skilled positions such as aircraft inspectors, airframe and powerplant technicians, as well as interior and avionics technicians. Construction of the third and fourth hangars is slated to commence in the latter half of the year.

"As the aviation industry continues to recover from the pandemic, the airframe MRO complex will create hundreds of new job opportunities in the region,” said Timothy McBride, President of ST Engineering North America. “We are dedicated to working with state and local leaders to maintain Northwest Florida's status as a national hub for the aviation industry, and to bring more high-quality engineering and aviation maintenance jobs to the community."