OSHKOSH - Through UW-Oshkosh, Fox Valley Technical College aviation graduates like Kodye Shier now have the opportunity to fly higher in their careers.
"First time I ever saw a plane I was bit by the aviation bug," said Shier who is now an intern flight instructor at FVTC.
Starting this fall, Shier and other technical school graduates will be able to take an online aviation management program through UW Oshkosh.
"It is so convenient the fact that I can be working, building my hours and still be able to go to school at the same time," said Shier
"The four-year program opens up more doors and it gives the graduates a leadership background so they can move up and advance in their companies and become the next generation of leaders in aviation," said Jared Huss, an aeronautics instructor at FVTC.
With most of the hands on work done at the technical college level, instructors say it works for the new program to be done online.
"Our graduates really find themselves all over the world and that's the nice thing about this offering is while they are out there in the industry working, gaining experience and providing for their families, they are able to continue their education 100% online from anywhere in the world," said Huss.
The offering might be taking off at just the right time. An industry forecast shows nearly 500,000 pilots will be needed through the year 2030 worldwide.
"We're at the front end right now that spike is forecast to start this year to next year," said Huss.
While FVTC aviation graduates could fill those jobs immediately, the new UW-Oshkosh program has potential to open better opportunities.
"The best jobs are for commercial airlines and commercial airlines will not even look at a candidate until they have a bachelor's degree," said Sarah Smith, the outreach program manager at UW-Oshkosh.
It is partly the reason Shier is on board.
"I don't want to sell myself short and close a door when I can just open more doors," said Shier.
The program is the first of its kind in Wisconsin.
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