On Tuesday, May 23, 2023, a group of local and state leaders met at the Coffee County Board of Education to hold a roundtable discussion concerning the Aviation and Aerospace Eco-System Initiative. Due to and in response to the nationwide shortage of pilots and mechanics in the aviation industry, leaders collaborated on the initiative to develop and provide students with the academic curriculum and technical skillsets that lead to careers in aviation.
“We understand that education is vital in developing skills, especially in rural and underserved communities, that is needed for today’s jobs and tomorrow’s future,” says Douglas Mayor, Tony Paulk. “Education is paramount in promoting the individual’s sense of worth, values, and high ethical standards, and our collaborative is committed to developing and offering quality education to our students and citizens.”
The group of leaders consisted of State Senator Blake Tillery, State Representative Clay Pirkle, Adon Clark (Dean of Middle Georgia State University’s School of Aviation), Amy Wilkie (USDA Rural Development), Tammera Holmes (Aerostar Consulting), Doug ‘Flounder’ Miller (Aerospace Works), Fritz Heck (Aerospace Works), Mayor Tony Paulk, Charles Davis (City Manager), along with additional leaders from the City of Douglas, Coffee County Board of Education, Wiregrass Georgia Technical College, South Georgia State College, and Douglas-Coffee County Economic Development Authority.
Plans are being discussed that would include programs for flight training as well as an airframe and powerplant with a structural program. The next step will be to develop a comprehensive plan of the held discussions and to continue to seek partnership and funding sources for these educational opportunities.