Louisiana State University of Alexandria (LSUA) and England Airpark, through their ACE (Aviation Careers and Education) Initiative, have partnered to establish a Professional Aviation degree program at LSUA.
The new program will prepare students to become FAA-certified multi-engine commercial pilots and flight instructors. Students will take flight courses with Acadian Aviation, an FAA-approved and LSUA-affiliated Part 141 flight school that operates at AEX (Alexandria International Airport).
“This is a great day for LSUA, our community, and our state. Any chance to partner with an amazing community leader like England Airpark to solve workforce needs is a win. With a growing shortage in pilots, our students will be able to graduate with a job in hand,” said Dr. Paul Coreil, LSUA Chancellor. “We are also extremely grateful to Rep. Lance Harris and Sen. Jay Luneau and all of the Central LA delegation for their help in making this idea become a reality.”
In order to establish the program, additional course fees for flight instruction had to be implemented. Due to Louisiana law, all university fee increases must be approved by the legislature. Representative Lance Harris and Senator Jay Luneau co-authored the bill (HB410) in the 2021 Legislative Session that was unanimously passed in both the House and the Senate.
“The team at England Airpark is proud to join with LSUA in laying the cornerstone on our ACE Initiative, a strategic workforce development program established to recruit the aviation industry to Central Louisiana,” stated Sandra McQuain, Executive Director of England Airpark. “We are grateful to LSUA, our legislators, Acadian Aviation and Million Air for their commitment to the ACE Initiative and congratulate the University on this milestone achievement.”
Students can immediately enroll in LSUA and begin taking coursework that is applicable to the program. Introduction to Aerospace (AVIA 1020) will be offered in Fall 2021.
While enrolled in the program, students will have the opportunity to intern at Million Air Alexandria to enhance aviation knowledge, skills, experience, and their resume. This on-the-job training will also provide competitive pay and tuition assistance following training and certification as long as students maintain a 3.0 grade point average.
“This is a great time for students to pursue a degree in Professional Aviation as industry experts are predicating that 260,000 new pilots will be needed over the next decade. LSUA is very excited to be able to offer its new aviation program at such an opportune time,” said Dr. Eamon Halpin, Associate Vice Chancellor and Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.
An Aviation Open House has been set for Tuesday, June 22 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Million Air facility at England Airpark. Prospective students and/or parents will have the opportunity to learn more about the curriculum, funding opportunities, and internships, and to receive a behind-the-scenes look at AEX.