VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- At airports across the country, airframe and power plant mechanics are in short supply. Thirty percent of the workforce is at or near retirement age.
The aircraft mechanic population is projected to decrease by five percent over the next 15 years. That need has encouraged 150 aspiring maintenance professionals to enroll at the Van Nuys Airport Aviation Center.
The school is operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District's Division of Adult and Career Education. It offers a combination of classroom lectures and shop-oriented projects, with facilities that allow students to work on propeller aircraft, helicopters and jets.
Opportunities are soaring, especially for women. Fewer than two percent of aviation mechanics are female. At the Van Nuys school, that number is 10 percent.
Clay Lacy Aviation, a private aviation company, is awarding more than $10,000 in scholarships to aspiring A&P mechanics to attend the AV-Center.
It's the only program of its kind in California that is located at an airport and open to high school students. The school enjoys a 95 percent job placement rate.