HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito visited Huntington Tri-State Airport Wednesday, Jan. 26, where she toured Marshall University’s new Aviation Maintenance Technology program facilities.

Pending certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, the program is set to open this fall with spots for 50 students in August.

“Marshall University’s (AMT) program is helping drive the aerospace industry right here in West Virginia,” Capito said. “Just as important, the new flight school and workforce training for technicians are expanding opportunities in the western region of the state, addressing pilot shortages, and introducing new career paths to those entering the workforce. As a leader on the Senate Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to advocate for funding that builds out and expands proven, successful initiatives like Marshall’s AMT program.”

Capito was welcomed to the airport by Marshall University President Brad D. Smith as well as other representatives from the university. They say the new AMT program, which students will be able to complete in 18 months, is believed to be the “first of its kind in the state.” The program is also a collaboration with Mountwest Community and Technical College.

“Marshall University has developed a future-focused and truly market-driven program that will lead the next generation in the aviation maintenance industry, “said President Smith. “We have incredibly talented people here ready to educate students who will get great jobs coming straight out of this program.”

The new program’s director, James “Jim” Smith, also thanked Capito for supporting aviation education.

“Aviation is an industry that allows its students and graduates an ever-growing variety of career options in traditional and emerging technologies,” Jim Smith said. “The senator has been an amazing force in helping create a vision for how to harness those opportunities and those technologies here in West Virginia. It’s an honor to have her here and to have worked with her staff over the last three years.”

More information on the AMT program is available on the university’s website.