Aviation Advocates Try to Keep North Valley Occupational Center Open
Located in a hangar at the busiest General Aviation airport in the country, the North Valley Occupational Center- Aviation Center has been providing aviation mechanics training for 41 years. However, with funding for education running low, the Los Angeles Unified School District would be forced to close or relocate the school.
Outcry has been coming from the local aviation industry with this proposed cut. Currently, the school offers GED and high school diploma classes as well as a two-year program specifically aimed at training students for certification by the FAA in general airframe and power plant mechanics. Curt Castagna, president of the Van Nuys Airport Association, said that the airport is a huge asset to the city, providing the industry with a couple hundred students who have been employed by the airport upon graduation. He went on to mention that the jobs the students were receiving were good paying jobs that provided “economic value locally and to the industry.”
Students in the school currently pay tuition of only $2,400 a semester, which is far lower than many private technical colleges. Officials from the school and the airport have said they would be willing to lower the cost of rent for the hangar that currently is being used. The school's principal mentioned that even if the school were to relocate off the airport, the value of the education would become “second rate” without the hands on experience provided by being in the hangar.
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