A unique partnership between Macon-Bibb County, Central Georgia Technical College and Robins Air Force Base will become a economic driver in Middle Georgia, officials said.
The partnership means that CGTC’s aviation program will be run out of the former Boeing manufacturing facility where Robins Air Force Base’s 402nd Commodities Maintenance Group will also be housed. Mayor Robert Reichert said the innovative partnership is the first of its kind in Georgia.
U.S. Sen. David Perdue and Governor Brian Kemp were among the more than 450 people who attended Friday’s regional economic development announcement held inside the Middle Georgia Regional Airport hangar .
The union between Robins Air Force Base and the technical college will start a workforce pipeline, with students getting hands-on training at the same facility where important military aircraft maintenance is taking place, officials said.
“This will create a unique space and partnership that will connect all of the dots and provide tangible benefits to all the parties but especially... a pathway to our students to a successful and rewarding career in aviation maintenance,” Reichert said.
Brig. Gen. John C. Kubinec, commander of Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, reiterated that this is a “groundbreaking” venture and important for workforce development.
“I don’t think we even understand how impactful this can be for our youth in the future, how impactful this can be for jobs in the future, how impactful it can be for our nation’s defense,” he said.
The 402nd commodities group, which works on and repairs major structural aircraft components, currently operates out of four aircraft hangars.
“Moving this commendation work to a location like this is vital for us to be able to do what our nation is asking us to do,” Kubinec said.
After Boeing moved out of the hangar, the Industrial Authority was left looking to fill the void, Industrial Authority Chairman Robby Fountain said.
CGTC’S President Ivan Allen was credited Friday with coming up with the idea for the partnership during an Industrial Authority board meeting.
However, there was some skepticism that it could be pulled off at the time, Fountain said.
“Without Dr. Allen, this wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
The regional airport will receive $780,000 a year as part of the lease agreement.
Perdue said with so many threats to the U.S. from across the world, the work being done at Robins Air Force Base is as important as ever.
“Jobs are great, economic growth is great... but really what we’re doing here is protecting our way of life,” he said.