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What tough job market? <i>First Graduates of Aviation School at former George Air Force Base Get Hired</i>

Students at the School of Aviation Technology at the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif. get hands-on training as aircraft mechanics. Most members of the school's first graduating class secured jobs within the region almost immediately.  (Photo by Scott Johnston)

Students at the School of Aviation Technology at the former George Air Force Base in Victorville, Calif. get hands-on training as aircraft mechanics. Most members of the school's first graduating class secured jobs within the region almost immediately. (Photo by Scott Johnston)

VICTORVILLE, CA -- Forty-three students at the Southern California Logistics Airport School of Aviation Technology, located at the former George AFB, recently became the first-ever aircraft mechanics to graduate from the school with full certification in general aviation, powerplant (the engine), and airframe. And their diplomas are paying off, as the vast
majority landed jobs almost immediately.

The students spent 2,050 hours learning about physics, welding, sheet metal, mathematics, hydraulics, and electrical systems in a hands-on program taught over 82 weeks.

About half of the graduates have already passed their oral and written Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licensing tests. Once licensed, their credentials qualify them to work anywhere in the world.

Many of the recent graduates may not have to stray far from the school to find work, however, because they've already landed local jobs. SCLA has 17 aviation-related businesses. Other graduates will work at other airports in the region, at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in nearby Barstow, or at private companies such as Lockheed. Only three students from the first graduating class were still looking for jobs about a month after graduation.

Job placement help is offered at the school, which opened in March, 2009 with the goal of creating a regional pool of trained applicants for aircraft mechanic jobs. Such high-demand jobs feature entry-level wages of $40,000 and up. The school received final FAA certification in April, 2010.

The Air Force Real Property agency, responsible for buying, selling and managing Air Force property worldwide, supports programs such as the SCLA School of Aviation Technology, which helps optimize assets at former Air Force installations, driving economic redevelopment and public benefit.