NewsPolk County


Lakeland academy offering employment, tuition stipend for airplane mechanics

This is to combat airplane mechanic shortage
Posted at 6:41 PM, Sep 28, 2021

LAKELAND, Fla. — Airplane mechanics say they need more help but it’s hard to find these days. The airline industry is severely short on mechanics.

“It’s always hard, pushing all the aircraft out. We’re short-staffed so there needs to be more mechanics,” said airplane mechanic Ronil Beato.

“There’s such a dire need for aircraft maintenance technicians in the industry it isn’t funny. Every airline is in panic mode they don’t know where they’re going to get their mechanics,” said John Detrick, Director and Chief Instructor at International Aerotech Academy.

Many airplane mechanics either retired early or were laid off during the pandemic and did not return. To attract potential candidates to the industry, International Aerotech Academy in Lakeland is teaming up with manufacturer Piper Aircraft.

“This is really the first initiative of its kind in the maintenance world where you have a legacy manufacturer. Piper Aircraft manufacturer that is not only providing a pathway program but actually offering financial incentives to the students,” said Steven Markhoff, President and CEO of International Aerotech Academy.

Students at Aerotech Academy will have the chance to interview with Piper Aircraft before they begin the semester on Oct. 28.

Successful students will receive a conditional job offer, a $3,000 signing bonus, and a tuition stipend of $2,400 a year for up to 10 years. The average starting salary for a mechanic is $40,000 a year.

Aerotech Academy said this is an opportunity to strengthen the talent pipeline.

“Our goal is to make it fun, make it educational and, in the end, to produce airframe and power plant mechanics that can be employed locally and worldwide,” Detrick said.

If you're interested in applying to Aerotech Academy, email or call 863-401-592.