AIDT’s Alabama Aviation Training Center at Mobile Aeroplex, not far from the Airbus passenger jet factory, represents a cornerstone in the state’s efforts to expand its aviation sector.
The $7 million facility, which opened in 2014, was designed to help prepare an Alabama workforce for the $600 million Airbus factory that will eventually employ 1,000 people. The AIDT facility includes six classrooms and labs, making it capable of training scores of workers at a time. Instruction at the center has focused on skills needed on the Airbus assembly line such as composite materials, paint, electrical and welding.
While the AIDT training center at the aeroplex has had an Airbus focus, its services will be available to other aviation companies.
Another significant training resource for the industry is the Alabama Aviation Center (AAC), a division of Enterprise State Community College that operates the only Federal Aviation Administration-certified training program for aircraft mechanics in the state. The center, founded in Ozark in 1960, also has locations in Mobile, Enterprise, Decatur, Albertville and Andalusia. It offers both airframe and powerplant programs.
The AAC location at Mobile Aeroplex has seen significant growth since Airbus announced plans to come to Alabama in 2012, which triggered an immediate spike in enrollment. In addition, the Mobile center has added equipment such as a $250,000 autoclave that’s used in training on how to produce and repair carbon fiber-reinforced composite parts.
The Mobile center has a longstanding co-op program with VT MAE (formerly known as ST Aerospace), which operates a major maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the aeroplex. It also participates in aviation dual-enrollment programs for high school students in Mobile and Baldwin counties.