Sussex County awards $700K bid as its share for new DelTech aviation program

Georgetown, Del., Oct. 23, 2007: Sussex County Council has followed through on its pledge to support a new airframe mechanics program, awarding a contract to renovate a hangar at the Sussex County Airport to serve as classroom and laboratory space.

County Council, at its Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2007, meeting, voted 4-0 to award Richard Y. Johnson & Son Inc. of Ellendale the $720,318 contract to renovate a 9,750-square-foot hangar. The building will be converted into classroom and practical laboratory space for a training program to begin in 2008 through Delaware Technical & Community College.

Work on the building, which will feature two classrooms, four laboratories and a resource library, will begin in the next few weeks and take approximately six months to complete.

Sussex County Council, DelTech and PATS Aircraft LLC in October 2006 announced a partnership to create an airframe mechanics associate’s degree program as part of the curriculum offered at the college. The program will train students to become airframe mechanics, who service all parts of an airplane, with the exception of the engine, propeller and instruments. No such program exists in Delaware today.

As its contribution, Sussex County government agreed to provide classroom space at the airport for the new program. This past spring, Sussex County took ownership of the hangar, and pledged to cover the cost of renovating the space.

While the cost to perform the renovations were a third higher than originally anticipated, County officials said the dollars to be spent are an investment in Sussex County’s economic future. Students who train in the program will be in high demand from Sussex County-based employers such as PATS, an auxiliary fuel tank installer that has more than 175 jobs open and waiting to be filled.

“The partnership between DelTech and the Sussex County Council will help to provide greater opportunities for Sussex County residents,” said County Administrator David B. Baker. “Trained airframe mechanics can earn salaries ranging from $30,000 to $60,000 a year. The County Council’s goal is to provide better employment opportunities, so hard-working people here in Sussex County can fill those jobs and take home those wages.”