"I know a couple of people that work in the industry. And through this down cycle, they're still working ... they're still doing OK. So that was another driving force for me," said Rowe.
Rowe is one of 18 students participating in the program, which is paid for mostly with stimulus money. On Tuesday, the students graduated from the first phase of the program at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.
Phase one of the program, which involves a lot of bookwork and learning, is complete for this graduating class. Phase two involves hands-on work, which includes taking apart and reassembling an approximately 3,500-piece jet engine.
Students in this program still have just over a year until they are ready to enter the job market.
"Even though the economy is down, we still have to stow the aircraft and reactivate them. So we're busy out here," said Arthur Gee, an FAA instructor.