The wheels have started to turn to get a new college that would train aviation technicians off the ground in Atlantic County.

Plans call for The Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology in New York to start up at Atlantic City International Airport.

"You have an industry that is really growing, and you have a potential shortage of people that are necessary to maintain and take care of the airplanes," said Greg Derham, of the nonprofit Garden State Education Group.

He says a number of groups, his included, are working with Atlantic County to provide training and much-needed jobs in this growing field.

"Our first class that we are targeting for June 2017 would be with 50 students."

According to Derham, there is a lot going on both in South Jersey and in the aviation industry to make this happen because the partnership is needed for Atlantic County and the aviation industry. He says that for years, the Vaughn College has been a leading player in the area of teaching aviation maintenance and helping students through their 18-month program, allowing them to come out with FAA certifications.

Derham says these new technicians will be sorely needed in coming years.

"Boeing Aircraft came out with a study stating that there is going to be a need over the next 20 years for 650,000 aviation technicians." He says the average age of a technician right now is about 55. "So you are looking at a lot of people right now kind of in the Boomer [generation] looking to retire."

Derham says a number of aviation industry companies are also on board.

"We have an advisory council set up to help us, with agreements from Southwest Airlines, Textron, Piedmont, the Atlantic County Institute of Technology, Spirit Airlines and a few others that we have asked and they have agreed to participate with an advisory board to get input."

Derham says The Garden State Education Group is a nonprofit, 501(c)3 organization working to help schools with STEM education programs.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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