National Center For Aviation Training Holds Open House

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

We've watched the new campus for the National Center for Aviation Training being built over the years, but Tuesday the doors were open to the public to see not only NCAT, but some of the other things the Wichita Area Technical College is doing.

"We want everbody to have the opportunity to come into this facility and see the great National Center for Aviation Training," Sheree Utash, WATC Vice President of Academics, said.

NCAT's campus will soon be wrapping up its second semester of classes. NCAT students prepare themselves for careers in aviation. Some students have had a shaky experience in aviation due to being laid off. Yet educators say those students use that time off from work to retrain themselves for their next opportunity.

"With the aviation industry in the downturn it has been in, we've been able to begin to create that pipeline. And, begin to create that ability to retrain and retool those that may have been laid off, so that they will be more valuable to the workplace as they are called back to the work or as they are interviewed for new positions, " Utash said.

The new president of the Wichita Area Technical College is Tony Kinkel. He says it is appropriate that "national" is a part of the training center's name because they have greeted visitors from around the world.

"It is becoming a national center, and it is the finest aviation facility in the world," Kinkel said. "And, that reputation is getting out," he added. Kinkel said there are many things in the works for the new campus, but he is not ready to reveal their plans yet. But, he did give some clues in other responses about what might be coming next.

"Who knows what will happen with composites. There's some talk that composites are the new growth industry in health care. What is our niche in that area? I think we are right on the cusp of greatly expanding what we do here," Kinkel said.

It sounds like they're not sitting still with the opening of this campus in the past year. They're keeping their eyes on the future, looking for opportunities not only to market the center nationally in the field of aviation, but also looking at how they might market it in other fields of industry.

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