YSU to take over EGCC aviation program

The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport is located in Vienna. Photo courtesy thearchive.com

By Molly Burke / The Jambar

Youngstown State University will take over Eastern Gateway Community College’s aviation program at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

The decision is part of YSU’s plan to aid EGCC students following its pause of enrollment and academic programs after spring 2024. 

YSU President Bill Johnson said the program, which is operated by the Western Reserve Port Authority, will help the university engage in workforce development.

“We have a focus at YSU of workforce development, education and innovation, and this is part in parcel of that. If you look at the industry sector — pilots, air traffic controllers, other aviation-related industries — they’re struggling for workforce too,” Johnson said. 

Johnson said bringing aviation to the university provides a path for EGCC students who were previously enrolled in the program, which was introduced in October 2023. 

“It’s a program that was in existence. It’s just a natural fit, and so we made a commitment that we were going to provide a seamless pathway to all students that were involved with Eastern Gateway and this was just one of those,” Johnson said. 

The program will be implemented in several stages. Johnson said the details have yet to be sorted out. 

“We are in the initial stages of this. There are a lot of things to consider. You’ve got the flight instructors, you’ve got other issues that have to be resolved, and we’re still working through those things now,” Johnson said. 

According to 21 WFMJ, enrollment is open and students can learn on different levels, from private to multi-engine certifications. Tuition is expected to cost around $19,000.

Johnson said YSU will aim to keep costs as close to what EGCC students were paying. 

“Still working through [costs]. Our intent has always been all along for all of the Eastern Gateway’s programs to keep costs as close as possible to what students were paying Eastern Gateway. So, we’re working hard to try and keep that commitment,” Johnson said.

For Johnson, it’s important to bring the program to YSU, especially with the use of artificial intelligence in aviation. 

“I spent almost 27 years in the air force. I went through pilot training in the air force. I trained pilots in the air force. I’m an instrument-rated pilot now,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to fly on an airplane that’s piloted by an AI pilot. I want a human being sitting in the cockpit, and I want that human being to be well trained, well skilled, and I think that’s what the American people want as well.”

Johnson said he is excited to continue Ohio’s leadership in aviation. 

“We brought aviation to the world with the invention of the airplane back in the early 1900s with Wilbur [and] Orville Wright,and we need to continue our leadership role there,” Johnson said. 

The Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport is located in Vienna. Photo courtesy thearchive.com

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