Quinsigamond Community College became the first campus in Massachusetts to build an articulation bridge in mechanical technology that links to the aeronautics specialization at Cape Cod Community College. The colleges signed an articulation agreement on June 23, providing opportunity for Worcester area residents to earn credentials as airplane mechanics.
Dr. Gail Carberry, QCC president, said, “I am glad the Cape Cod and Quinsigamond curriculum partnership was signed today. In an era of tight fiscal resources, maximizing partnerships across the state for the benefit of Worcester area students and businesses is the right thing to do. President Cox of Cape Cod Community College is one of my heroes for making this happen.”
“This is truly a historic moment, establishing this agreement enabling QCC students to complete their general education requirements locally and then enter Cape Cod Community College's FAA-Certified Aviation Maintenance Technology Program,” stated Dr. John Cox, President of Cape Cod Community College. “With 14 months of education at our Plymouth Airport Center, QCC students will complete the requirements for Airframe and Powerplant Certifications and the Associate of Applied Science Degree in Aviation Maintenance, and take the exams for FAA-certifications leading to available career opportunities. As we speak, we are working on housing options for those interested in local accommodations.”
“I am very grateful for President Carberry's commitment in this educational pathway for students and her vision in establishing this agreement between our colleges,” he said.
Commencing in 2012, Presidents Cox and Carberry met to explore the potential to create a joint program to meet the shortage of airplane mechanics in the Commonwealth. The curriculum requirements, lab sophistication and expense to launch a program of this sort required the presidents to think creatively and holistically about how and where to begin its development.
Dr. Carberry travelled to the airport in Hyannis to begin the conversations with President Cox and then state Sen. Dan Wolf, the CEO of Cape Air. At the time, Senator Wolf had made comments at a workforce summit in Sturbridge about a critical national shortage of airplane mechanics.
A Department of Labor grant, coordinated by QCC in 2012, that delivered on statewide curriculum advancements in workforce education in all 15 Massachusetts community colleges, paved the way for CCCC to take a lead among the campuses in curriculum design to meet this uncommon workforce shortage. CCCC started exploring the FAA requirements of a curriculum model, while QCC committed to a future articulation with CCCC to facilitate the training of airplane mechanics to support the burgeoning air traffic patterns at the Worcester Airport under MassPort.
The discussions advanced still further over the next several years, as CCCC designed a state-of-the-art airplane mechanics training facility to meet FAA requirements and created a capitalization plan to build it. QCC waited with a greater sense of urgency as Jet Blue advanced its flights in and out of Worcester.
The fully completed phase one laboratory hangars operated by Cape Cod Community College opened in Fall 2016 in Plymouth. CCCC sought and received state earmarks and federal grants to advance the facility's development, along with private donations. It is the only such public higher education facility in the state.
CCCC is working with the private sector to create residential spaces for students from Quinsigamond to be housed. Worcester area students will complete one year of programming at QCC before transferring credits and relocating to the CCCC program.
Incoming QCC president Dr. Luis Pedraja, who will take the helm at QCC on July 10, has been in communication with Dr. Cox, expressing his support for this important collaboration.
Individuals interested in the program should contact the QCC admissions office at admissions [at] qcc.mass.edu.
A story about the agreement ran in the Worcester Business Journal.