Kirkwood Community College and Eastern Iowa Airport announce funding for new Aviation Maintenance Technology program

Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 4:15 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Kirkwood college announced nearly one million dollars in funding for their new Aviation Maintenance Technology program today. The program is set to create around 100 new jobs.

After years of working together, Kirkwood Community College and the Eastern Iowa Airport announced Wednesday they received funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to fund their new ‘Aviation Maintenance Technology program.

”It’s exciting. It feels very rewarding. That all that work over the last few years and powering through the pandemic, that we’re on the doorstep of having students fill the halls of the hanger,” said Marty Lenss, Eastern Iowa Airport Director.

The money will be used to renovate an existing hanger at the airport, creating classroom space, a workshop and access to airport facilities.

And although the first class of students won’t start until 2023, students are already ready to get started.

Jarrett Bohlken graduated from Prairie in 2020. Aviation has a long history in his family.

”I’ve gone on planes, hundreds of them my whole life. I love traveling and getting out. And also, my grandpa is an aircraft mechanic. He’s been doing that, and I’ve been able to be out there working on planes so being with planes my whole life is really what drew me to it,” said Bohlken.

He said it’s nice to have a program so close to home.

”I don’t have to go anywhere else or spend a whole bunch of money. I can stay local and be with my family, be with my friends and also get an education. Do what I want to do,” said Bohlken.

And these future students said they’re anxious for the program to take off.

”Definitely excitement. It’s a great space for sure. Great aircraft hanger that they’re going to be able to fill with a bunch of special students,” said Benjamin Coffman, a prospective student.

”I’m feeling like it’s going to be pretty fancy. I’m not gonna lie, it looks really nice in here. But, I’m just excited to get out here and work on some planes,” said Bohlken.