By Lauren Werner
Starting in January, the dream of a good, family sustaining job will be closer to reality for a group of students at Forsyth Technical Community College. In late October, Forsyth Tech opened the Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab, which will welcome its first cohort in January.
Upon completion of a rigorous program, this group of folks will be able to find employment anywhere in the United States – including right here at home in the Triad. This intensive course load covers 43 subject areas and allows students to gain hands-on experience in numerous labs. Once they have completed five full-time semesters, they will graduate with the kind of income earning potential that is transformative, and be an avionics technician or work in aircraft maintenance.
“That’s what your community college, Forsyth Tech, does,” said Dr. Janet Spriggs, President of Forsyth Tech. “This program is just one of many innovative ways that we are working to develop our community’s workforce and be a driver for equitable economic opportunities for citizens of Forsyth and Stokes Counties and the Triad.”
Many studies show that aerospace is a critical driver for economic success for communities. Not only are airports an important part of local economies, they are also a consideration for new businesses when deciding where to invest their resources. This new lab supports the efforts to continue the important role that Smith Reynolds Airport plays in our community.
The Aviation Technology Lab is named in honor of Mazie Spencer Woodruff, the first African American elected as a Forsyth County commissioner. She served from 1976 to 1990 and was known for her dedication to education and social justice. The nearby Mazie S. Woodruff Center, which opened in 1998, is also named in her honor. “We feel it is our duty to recognize individuals like Mazie Woodruff, who blazed new trails, and we are proud and honored to do so,” said Dr. Spriggs.
The celebratory Grand Opening event included remarks from Senator Paul Lowe, Jr., Mayor Allen Joines and Councilwoman Barbara Burke, among others. Senator Lowe recalled when he first arrived in Winston in 1991 and the time that he spent with Mazie Woodruff. He reflected, “To see what is happening now, in this community – I’m bubbling over, I really am, to see where we’ve come from and to see the kinds of things that are happening on the educational front that will benefit this community.”
The Mazie S. Woodruff Aviation Technology Lab was funded through a $16 million bond referendum. The Lab, which boasts a whopping 52,000 square feet, is connected to Smith Reynolds Airport, and is only the fifth airframe and power plant program (A & P for short) that is connected to an airport in the state. It contains a 15,000-square-foot hangar that is large enough to house eight aircraft. There are classrooms, labs, a library, office and conference space and lounge areas for students with stunning views of the runway. The other cool thing about being connected to an airport? Students will not only learn to start aircraft and crank engines – they will learn to taxi planes, as well!
About Forsyth Technical Community College
Forsyth Technical Community College provides students with guided educational pathways into a competitive workforce for the community and global economy. The college offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 200 programs of study, including programs that promote personal and professional development through non-credit courses and seminars, as well as customized training for business and industry. Forsyth Tech serves more than 21,000 students with approximately 1,500 full and part-time faculty and staff. For additional information, please visit forsythtech.edu and follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.
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