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Piedmont Airlines toolbox donation supports Liberty’s growing aviation maintenance program

Faculty, staff, and students from the Liberty University School of Aeronautics pose with the new toolboxes that will be used in the school’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Program.

As part of a continuing relationship that began in 2010, Piedmont Airlines has donated 33 toolboxes to Liberty University’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Program (AMTP), valued at $165,000. The Sonic Tools toolboxes will be used by students during their time in the program.

Because students are normally required to buy toolboxes prior to starting the program, the donation will save each incoming student approximately $5,000. And, should program graduates decide to work for Piedmont, they will receive a similar toolbox as a signing bonus — an attractive benefit to those entering this rewarding career field.

Dr. Rick Roof, dean of the School of Aeronautics, said the partnership with Piedmont Airlines goes beyond the physical support provided through the toolbox donation.

“Our mission is to prepare Champions for Christ, and that means producing graduates with the best character and the best technical expertise,” he said. “Because Piedmont has become embedded in our culture, they are able to provide feedback on our program to help us meet that mission.”

Liberty’s AMTP program boasts a nearly 100% job placement rate, so in just 12 months, graduates of the program can expect to work in an industry where, according to a recent report from Boeing, over 769,000 new aviation technicians will be required over the next 20 years.

Liberty’s aviation program has seen a 27% increase in enrollment since last year and attracted a January 2020 AMTP class that is the largest in five years.

Left to right: Liberty University Provost Dr. Scott Hicks; Bill Arndt, vice president of maintenance and engineering at Piedmont Airlines; Dr. Rick Roof, dean of Liberty University School of Aeronautics; Steven Brinly, chair of aerospace technology at the School of Aeronautics

Bill Arndt, vice president of maintenance and engineering for Piedmont Airlines, officially presented the toolboxes during an event at the maintenance school facility on Friday.

“There is a single phrase that separates Liberty graduates from other candidates: well prepared — not only to be aircraft technicians with technical knowledge, but also ready to enter the workforce,” he said. “They are professional, disciplined and willing to learn and listen.”

Arndt handed the toolbox keys to Liberty Provost Scott Hicks, adding, “Thank you for building a learning environment that enables students to come out of here well prepared.”

Other Piedmont Airlines representatives visiting campus on Friday included Kevin Dallaire, recruiting manager; Dwayne Devinney, Roanoke base manager; Jackie Jennings, director of corporate communications; and Alexandria Labelle and Jason Blair, pilot recruiters.

In January, Piedmont Airlines President and CEO Lyle Hogg visited campus and met with aeronautics students to share information about opportunities as part of the hiring agreement. The company operates nearly 400 daily departures to more than 55 cities throughout the eastern United States and has a ground handling team in nearly 80 domestic airports.

Liberty offers a residential Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance, with cognates in management and unmanned aerial systems. Liberty also offers an on-campus AA in Aviation Maintenance Technology and a 12-month Aviation Maintenance Technician Certificate program. All residential degree programs prepare students to test for FAA Mechanic certification with both Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) ratings.

Many students are also taking advantage of Liberty’s online B.S. in Aviation Maintenance Management. The program is designed for people who may already have FAA mechanic certification with A&P ratings or are completing their certification at an FAA-approved maintenance school in their area. The online degree prepares students to become leaders in the industry by highlighting aviation technologies, safety programs, and aviation management.