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Tue, Jul 06, 2004

Governor Riley Has Seen The Light

Alabama's Chief Executive Pledges $6 Million To Aviation Training

Alabama Governor Bob Riley last week unveiled plans for a $6 million aviation training facility at Enterprise-Ozark Community College, making good on a promise he made last March.

"We will build a center that will not only compete in Alabama but will compete all over the world, to ensure that this area will become known as the center of aviation excellence, and if we do that, we do not have to worry about the economy or the quality of life," he said at a meeting of military leaders, school officials and executives from aircraft and avionics firms in Alabama. He was quoted in the Southeast Sun newspaper.

Last week, when he helped launch the construction project, Riley heard from Mike Spears, who heads up Sikorsky's Troy (AL) division. Already, Spears said, 175 of his workers are graduates of the avionics program at EOCC. "Projections are that we will employ around 300 workers in a couple of years. We have to hire people that have skills and training - but it has to be done on up-to-date equipment... some of the equipment was here when I came through the school 20 years ago," he said. Even then, he told the governor, the equipment was out of date. "We appreciate anything we can get to update the equipment at the center."

That was justification enough for Riley, the Sun reported, who said the EOCC project wasn't developed with a "'build it and they will come' mentality - the jobs are already here."



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