Northwest Florida State College Enters Into Partnership With the Crestview Technology Air Park and the Hsu Educational Foundation to Launch Airframe and Powerplant Programming in the Panhandle
NICEVILLE, Fla. (November 7, 2019)—The Northwest Florida State College board of trustees met on November 6, 2019, in a special board meeting during which they unanimously approved a long-term lease with the Crestview Technology Air Park (CTAP) at Bob Sikes Airport and a memorandum of agreement with the Hsu Educational Foundation to house its new Airframe and Powerplant Program. This transformational partnership serves as a catalyst for workforce training to support the growing aerospace community in our region.
“A first for Okaloosa County, the A&P Program will make a long and lasting impact not only at Bob Sikes, but in Okaloosa County and across northwest Florida. It is my understanding, for the next 20 years the world will need 800,000 pilots, 700,000 A&P technicians and 40,000 new airplanes,” said Dr. Paul Hsu, CEO of CTAP. “We are at the right time and the right place! I am excited and look forward to working with the college to make Okaloosa a better place for growing aerospace and other high-tech industries.”
Northwest Florida State College’s collaboration with the Hsu Educational Foundation creates a unique learning environment where students in grades K-12 have the opportunity to utilize the state-of-the-art facilities for STEM education around the college’s A&P programming, with the ultimate goal of introducing them to advanced technology in high-growth industry sectors.
“The Hsu Educational Foundation is committed to inspiring and preparing a strong pipeline of students from an early age to seek and take advantage of these high-demand aviation training opportunities, leading to promising careers and a stronger economic future for the region,” said Amanda Negron, executive director of the Hsu Educational Foundation. “As a liaison with industry employers, we will extend outreach to support and sustain the program’s role as a strong local source of workforce talent for many years to come.”
Also on hand to lend strong support for this pivotal partnership were Carolyn Ketchel, Okaloosa County commissioner, District Two and Okaloosa County Aviation Board member; Tracy Stage, Okaloosa County Airports director; and Nathan Sparks, executive director of the Economic Development Council, Okaloosa County. Together, we are looking forward to expanding these partnerships to further engage business and industry.
“It is a historic moment for Northwest Florida State College to enter into this agreement with the Crestview Technology Air Park and the Hsu Educational Foundation to bring Airframe and Powerplant programming to our community, and I am humbled to be surrounded by such great visionaries for our college and this region,” said Dr. Devin Stephenson, president of Northwest Florida State College. “I am sincerely appreciative of the enthusiastic support we received from members of our board of trustees to advance our mission of educational opportunity, economic development and improvement of the quality of place for the citizens of Okaloosa and Walton counties. We stand ready to Take Flight and SOAR!”