HIGH POINT -- Charter school Phoenix Academy will open a high school in 2014 to include training for future careers in the aviation industry. Aerotropolis Academy will join other area schools aiming to meet the increasing demand for skilled aviation workers.
Phoenix Academy will expand to include 6th, 7th and 8th grades and build Aerotropolis Academy at Clinard Farms Road and Barrow Road. Plans called for Aerotropolis to graduate 120 traditional high school students and 60 students training each year for the aviation workforce. The project's director said demand for skilled workers in the Triad was on the rise.
"Companies throughout the central part of the state all need workers,” said Ed Frye. “The FAA is forecasting a need for numbers that are beyond what the current schools in this country can produce."
Companies include Timco, Honda Aircraft and others. Aerotropolis would put students on track to get needed certifications.
"If they achieve those certifications, they should be qualified to fill those openings," said Frye.
Students will be able to take classes concurrently at GTCC in their junior and senior years to get a head start on the future.
"We're trying to make it so that the kids can graduate with an associate degree and go right out into the workforce if that's what they choose to do,” said Kim Norcross, superintendent at Phoenix Academy.
Others may aim for a certificate in sheet metal, composites or other disciplines to prepare them for immediate employment when they graduate. Frye said they'll all get valuable exposure to the industry to help them make the best choice.
"We'll show students the floor of the workplace, the workers doing their job,” he said. “We'll have workers come in and talk to them in class."
Frye hoped in the years ahead that when the local aviation industry looks for talent, Aerotropolis Academy graduates will be among their first calls.
"If we can meet the need of those companies, we will have done our job here," he said.
Construction could get underway in late summer. Phoenix Academy will submit Aerotropolis' curriculum to the state for approval. Frye was confident the school would remain on track for a fall 2014 opening.