The Federal Aviation Administration has given Columbia Gorge Community College its “Air Agency Certificate” as home of the nation’s newest aviation maintenance technician training program. That follows four years of the college working with industry partners and the FAA to develop a curriculum to meet rigorous technical requirements for training. Students graduating from the program will be prepared for their FAA licensing test as aviation maintenance technicians that would allow them to maintain fixed-wing aircraft anywhere in the United States. CGCC Capital Projects and Community Relations Director Dan Spatz says the Gorge is an ideal location for the program, with the amount of rural aviation in the region, and no maintenance training opportunities east of the Cascades. A 2020 estimate by the Aviation Technical Education Council shows America’s aviation industry faces an estimated shortage of 79,000 maintenance technicians by the year 2039.