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Advanced Composites classes starting at AAC during second mini-term
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Advanced Composites classes starting at AAC during second mini-term

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Advanced Composites Instructor Clint Johnson stands in AAC’s newly renovated composites lab.

October 18 is the first day of the second mini-term for the Fall 2021 semester at the Alabama Aviation College, a unit of Enterprise State Community College, and the first day of class for the College’s new Advanced Composites associate program led by newly hired instructor Clint Johnson.

Clint Johnson is a 2012 alumnus of AAC and an FAA Licensed Airframe & Powerplant Mechanic, with 17 years of structural and sheet metal fabrication experience working in the steel industry.

Johnson also has several technical certifications and experience that give him advanced knowledge in the composites field. He is dual certified by Davis Tech Manufacturing Engineering Education Program—Advance Composites Career Pathways Trainer Certification and the Abaris Advanced Composites Repair Technician. He has been an instructor for Non-Metallics Structures & Welding Mechanic at AAC since 2018, which includes curriculum in composite manufacturing and repair.

After graduating from AAC, Johnson worked with Express Jet and Bombardier Jet as a structural mechanic, performing composite repairs on contracts under United and Delta Airlines. He is also currently employed with M1 Support Services as a Technical Inspector for the Department of Defense Army Aviation Maintenance Contract at Fort Rucker.

The College’s new two-year Advanced Composites program will offer training for an industry sector with a growing number of “new collar” jobs.

“The aviation industry is always on the leading edge of technology,” AAC Director Stan Smith said. “Aircraft now have many composite components since they are lightweight and strong. Other industries such as boating, racing, cycling, and other sports are also using this technology, so graduates of our new program will have a wide range of career path options.

The new program will also allow for flexibility in scheduling, following a similar structure to the College’s Mechatronics program, in which students will review information in online modules before scheduling lab times at their convenience to complete over 40 projects.

The College is partnering with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), who received a $5 million Manufacturing Education Extension Program (MEEP) grant from the Department of Defense (DOD) to replicate the successful Composites program at Davis Technical College in Utah at various locations across the United States over the next three years.

AAC was chosen as one of three locations to serve as learning centers. Through the MEEP grant, AAC will receive $50,000 per year for three years, totaling $150,000. These funds will help AAC supplement equipment purchases for the program’s lab and provide portions of the program instructor’s salary for three years.

Though College currently teaches basic composites to its aviation maintenance technology students, the new program will prepare individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in the development, manufacture and use of composite materials.

The hands-on labs will be held in the renovated Composites Lab at AAC. Those renovations, along with several other projects on the Ozark campus, were completed through the provision of $2.5 million from the Alabama Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which awards funds for projects that promote economic development and industrial recruitment in the state. AAC’s campus was selected to be the recipient of these funds through the work of state representatives, including State Representative Steve Clouse and Governor Kay Ivey.

“Through the help of President Rodgers and all the staff at AAC as well as being successful in securing funding through the legislature, as a team, we were able to bring the improvements together,” Clouse said about campus renovations and new programs coming in as a result. “It means a lot not only to the Alabama Community College System as a whole but here locally to be able to provide quality facilities for students to learn in.”

President Matt Rodgers thanked all local and state government officials for their support of the College and its work to meet workforce needs.

“We appreciate the unwavering support from our government officials,” he said. “With their support, we are growing and adding new programs that impact the communities we serve.”

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