Located at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport
SPRINGFIELD – Officials of Lincoln Land Community College and the Springfield Airport Authority, along with Dick Levi of Levi, Ray and Shoup, Inc., assisted LLCC aviation student Lukas Keck in cutting the ribbon to the new Levi, Ray and Shoup, Inc. Aviation Center at LLCC on Oct. 25. The new center, located at Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, was made possible by an $850,000 gift from Mr. Levi. A number of elected officials, including Governor Bruce Rauner, State Senator Bill Brady, State Representative Tim Butler and Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder attended the ceremony.
“Mr. Levi recognized that expanding and modernizing our aviation center would allow more students to receive hands on, technical job training in the repair and maintenance of aircraft, leading to rewarding and in-demand careers,” said LLCC President Charlotte Warren, Ph.D. “Our entire community benefits from more students trained for more local jobs, such as at Standard Aero right across the tarmac.
“Prior to this new facility, our aviation mechanics program was housed in the hangar to the back, and classes took place in a modular structure,” Dr. Warren added. “You can see how teaching and learning have been enhanced through these new classroom and training spaces, computer lab, technical library, lobby and offices.”
“This great new facility enables LLCC to train and graduate more aviation mechanics at a time when these skilled workers are in great demand,” said Governor Rauner.
Dennis Shackelford, chair of the LLCC Board of Trustees, thanked Levi for his generous gift. “On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the citizens of LLCC District 526, I’d like to add my deep gratitude to Mr. Levi. Your gift will have far reaching effects on the students we serve and their futures.”
Shackelford noted that LLCC’s aviation mechanics students are in high demand and are often offered paid internships and jobs prior to completing their program. “Students in the LLCC aviation program have a nearly 100 percent job placement rate. With an expected high turnover in the field due to retirements, we anticipate great opportunities for our graduates over the next two decades. We’re proud to offer them a state-of-the-art facility in which to learn.”
Frank Vala, chair of the Springfield Airport Authority Board of Commissioners, said, “Our collaboration and working with Standard Aero is giving students an opportunity to intern and hopefully long-term employment in the industry.”
James Campbell, vice president/general manager of Standard Aero, added, “About 20 percent of our A&P techs came from LLCC. We have three interns working for us now, and we’re looking to expand our partnership with the school.”
Vala then introduced Levi, who said, “Our company is so proud to be able to do something like this, to help with education for people who want to be in this field.”
Dr. Warren also acknowledged the assistance received in furnishing the new facility from the LLCC Foundation as well as local labor unions, including Central Illinois Building and Construction Trades Council, Laborers’ International Union of North America AFL/CIO, Plumbers & Steamfitters L.U. #137, and Southern & Central Illinois Laborers’ Employers’ Cooperation and Education Trust.
The ribbon cutting was preceded by an open house, during which LLCC aviation mechanics students and instructors guided visitors through the center. LLCC’s aviation mechanics program teaches the repair and maintenance of modern engines and airframes. Graduates are prepared to take Federal Aviation Administration certification exams. The only aviation mechanics program in central Illinois, students can begin their studies in January or August.
Information on enrolling in the approximately 18-month program is available by visiting www.llcc.edu/aviation or by contacting program director Dave Pietrzak at 217-544-4965 or firstname.lastname@example.org.