On February 8, in front of more than 100 local officials, business leaders, students and teachers, Miami-Dade County announced financial support for a new professional and technical training center focused on preparing students for careers in business aviation and other fields.
At the National Business Aviation Association’s (NBAA’s) 2023 Miami-Opa locka Regional Forum, Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners Chairman Oliver G. Gilbert III presented a $100,000 check for the center to Capt. Barrington Irving, a Guinness World Record-breaking pilot who was both the youngest person and first black pilot to fly solo around the world.
The center, located on the grounds of Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport, will develop skilled workers from diverse backgrounds needed in the fast-growing business aviation sector. It will help students from the Miami area and around the world develop technical skills that enable them to have careers in aviation that are also transferable to fields outside the sector.
“I am excited to bring what will be a major hub for innovation to the Miami Opa-locka Executive Airport,” Chairman Gilbert said. “Individuals who will come for certification will be educated by the best, and they will have access to top-of-the line resources. This center will transform lives. It will unlock curiosity in our youth to imagine what’s possible by studying fields from a technical perspective, and for adults, it will provide a new start in a viable career that can increase their livelihood. The best part is, we are getting started now.”
Florida is third in the United States when it comes to the total economic impact and jobs generated by the aviation industry. The state is home to more than 200 aviation manufacturing companies.
“This funding from Miami-Dade will help us launch an innovative training program to get more students from a variety of backgrounds into business aviation and other industries where they can achieve their professional dreams,” Capt. Irving said. “I am grateful to Miami-Dade County and the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, and the center’s other partners: Atlantic Aviation, Bombardier, Concours Club, NBAA, and Signature Flight Support.”
The new center is aptly named the Barrington Irving Technical Training School. The school will offer technical training, where students will earn industry certifications, including prestigious “NC3” certifications that are intended to upskill students faster so they can enter the workforce quickly. The certifications, issued by the National Coalition of Certification Centers, are widely recognized by employers as a gold standard in training and professionalism.
“Our plan is to build demand for the center by attracting those in the local community to an Innovation Lab we are naming in honor of Chairman Oliver Gilbert III,” Capt. Irving added.
The center, which will graduate approximately 50 students in its first year, will incorporate tools and resources from NBAA and other industry partners.
“NBAA is proud to be working with Capt. Irving on a critical initiative: producing the talent we need to overcome a shortage of pilots, technicians and other professionals in our industry,” NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen said. “Barrington is an inspiring leader, and we know that the center will be more than a job-training initiative – it will shape the next generation of visionary leaders who will chart a course for business aviation in the years to come.”
In addition to Chair Gilbert, local officials and U.S. congressional offices in attendance included: Miami-Dade County Chief Operations Officer Jimmy Morales; Ralph Cutie, Director and CEO of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD), which operates Miami-Opa locka Executive Airport (OPF); MDAD Deputy Director Basil Binns II; Opa-locka Mayor John Taylor, Jr.; Opa-locka Vice Mayor Natasha Ervin; Opa-locka City Manager Darvin Williams; and Opa-locka Commissioner Sherelean Bass; Lea Padron, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio’s District Director; and Christine Del Portillo, U.S. Senator Rick Scott’s District Director.
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