Plans for possible Aviation Institute in beginning phases


GREENVILLE, NC (WNCT) “It’s not just an ECU effort. It’s an ECU effort and Elizabeth City State University. It’s Community Colleges in the region all coming together,” said Keith Wheeler, East Carolina University Office of National Security & Industry Initiatives.

Coming together to develop plans for a new aviation institute in the east.

“Because there’s this spectrum of need. There may be 70% of the need for highly skilled touch labor. About the balance of 30% would be in engineering type capabilities and then other capabilities like a business, leadership project management, cybersecurity, innovation, and research and things like that,” said Wheeler.

Wheeler is one of the project leaders.

“Something like that. Maybe spread a little more regionally in Eastern North Carolina would be something that would suit the bill. We’re still in kinda the early discussions on that,” said Wheeler.

North Carolina is a leader in a leader in aerospace initiatives in the U.S. with more than 200 aerospace companies in the state.

That’s according to the economic development partnership of North Carolina.

“There could also be components at community colleges and even down into the high schools if we get this right,” said Wheeler.

But if plans go according to plan it can add a lot of benefits to ECU, it’s students and eastern North Carolina.

“Student success student involvement and real-world application in technology ad innovation as well as very well paying jobs in the area where they don’t have to leave eastern North Carolina to get access to those jobs,” said Wheeler.

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