Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics to offer open house Saturday

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics will host an open house at 11 a.m. Saturday at its Hagerstown campus, 14516 Pennsylvania Ave.

The institute’s hands-on program in Hagerstown trains people in aviation maintenance and provides students with the opportunity to test for the FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification.

The 16-month Hagerstown program is Maryland’s only FFA-approved airframe and powerplant training program, according to a news release from the institute. PIA also offers a 21-month associate degree program, available at its Pittsburgh campus, and people can transfer from the Hagerstown program to the Pittsburgh campus if they choose to pursue that degree.

PIA career fairs at its campuses in Hagerstown, Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Ohio, and Myrtle Beach, S.C., have been attracting more employers than there are graduates to fill open positions, according to the release.

Boeing’s 2016 Current Market Outlook reports that the aviation industry will require more than 118,000 maintenance technicians in North America by 2035.

Students can begin the 16-month Hagerstown program in January, April or August each year, said Barbara Martin, admissions representative.

“We can only take 40 students at a time,” Martin said. “There are only a few spots left” in the August cohort.

“That we are hosting events with such a large number of companies in comparison to the number of upcoming graduates attending is a strong indicator of career demand, Suzanne Markle, president and chief executive officer of the nonprofit PIA.

According to the news release, 95 percent of eligible graduates from the Hagerstown campus started working in the aviation industry or in a field using their PIA education between June 30, 2014, and July 1, 2016. The average PIA graduate starting salary is $36,000 for the 2015 fiscal year.