At a July 15, 2004, Pilot Town Meeting in Santa
Rosa, San Jose University students brief Phil
Boyer on reductions to their aviation studies program.
AOPA is urging California's San Jose State University to support and promote its aviation studies program.
"I find myself asking how, after 69 years of success, graduating over 7,000 students trained in aircraft flight operations, airport management, and aircraft maintenance, can such a shining-star program be dismantled?" AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote in letters to the university president, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and other legislative and educational leaders.
Aviation students from San Jose State alerted Boyer to the downsizing of the program during an AOPA Pilot Town Meeting last month in Santa Rosa, California.
The university is closing its aeronautical laboratory and phasing out its aircraft maintenance degree program because it is losing its space at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC). San Jose is the only public school in California to offer Bachelor of Science degrees in Aviation Maintenance Management, Operations, Aviation Management, and Avionics. But with the phase-out of the SJC facility, the university is turning the program away from hands-on experience and FAA maintenance certification.
"These developments are extremely troubling since San Jose State University's aviation programs have received nationwide recognition and have graduated individuals who have gone on to lead some or our nation's best-known aviation companies," Boyer wrote. Mark Tine, Jeppesen CEO, is a graduate of the SJSU aviation program.
The aerospace industry is a leading employer in California, yet job forecasters are predicting a shortage of pilots, maintenance technicians, air traffic controllers, and other aviation professionals.
"Contributing more than $976 billion to the economy, U.S. aviation and related industries employ more than 10.9 million Americans with wages and salaries totaling more than $278 billion annually," Boyer wrote. "General aviation alone...accounts for over $102 billion in national economic impact and 1.3 million jobs.
"Obviously, AOPA and its members have a vested interest in the continued viability of the general aviation industry," Boyer concluded. "As our industry continues to grow, the need for qualified college graduates like those passing through the halls of San Jose State University will also continue to grow.
"Therefore, AOPA and our members strongly encourage you and every member of the Board of Trustees to support and fully promote the continuation of the vital programs that comprise the Department of Aviation and Technology at San Jose State University."
August 4, 2004