Aviation Program Flying High across Kentucky

photo of Benson, Adkins at airport

Eastern Kentucky University’s aviation program continues to write its name in the skies above the Commonwealth.

On Jan. 28, University officials met with representatives of Ashland Community and Technical College (ACTC) to discuss a 2+2 partnership to offer ACTC students a degree in aviation through EKU’s highly accredited program.

“Because the University is uniquely positioned as the only higher education institution in the state offering a degree in aviation, we are committed to expanding our FAA certified program all across Kentucky,” said EKU President Michael Benson. “Thus far, EKU has entered into a partnership or is in final discussions for a 2+2 partnership with KCTCS Middlesboro, Hazard, Owensboro, Hopkinsville, and Somerset. Ashland will make the sixth potential EKU aviation partner.”

Responding to a worldwide demand of 498,000 pilots over the next 20 years, EKU “is looking to expand its program offerings to every community college in the Commonwealth that is co-located with a regional airport,” said Ralph Gibbs, director of aviation at the University.

While Eastern has a one-of-a-kind aviation program, ACTC is also uniquely positioned for aviation education by virtue of its local airport. The Ashland Regional Airport will give ACTC students the perfect location to begin their training and offer EKU students another location to further their practice. ACTC’s location in a tri-state region will also allow the partnership to recruit students from Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia.

“We welcome educational partnerships that expand opportunities for students,” said Dr. Kay Adkins, ACTC president and CEO. “A transfer agreement with Eastern Kentucky University in its aviation program would give our students an exciting new option for earning a bachelor’s degree in a high demand field.”

An additional benefit to the EKU/ACTC partnership is community support. State Rep. Tanya Pullin sees the unique partnership as a critical step to improving the economic vitality of northeastern Kentucky.

She offered her support by bringing together the administrators of EKU and ACTC and appropriating funds in the 2014 state budget to conduct a feasibility study on the joint project in Worthington.

“Eastern Kentucky University believes that partnering with ACTC is the great next step in accomplishing our goal of supplying the nation with the next generation of pilots,” said Benson.

Published on January 31, 2015

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