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State to Invest $2.6M in Rockford Aviation Mechanic Pipeline

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A $2.6 million investment was announced Thursday to support workforce training through the AAR Corp. facility at the Chicago-Rockford International Airport (RFD).

The grant will be awarded through the Workforce Connection (TWC) which strengthens curriculum alongside AAR for Rock Valley Community College’s Airframe and Powerplant Program.

The investment will help support 80 apprenticeships and short-term credentialing programs for experienced technicians to relocate to the AAR Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) space.

“AAR works diligently with educational partners, like Rock Valley College, to create career paths in aviation maintenance,” said John M. Holmes, AAR’s Chairman, President, and CEO. “We’re grateful for the State’s investment in these initiatives. Not only does the grant enable our efforts to go further, it’s also a testament to the positive impact workforce development efforts have on individuals, community, and industry.”

The program also supports Illinoisans in securing good-paying jobs without having to leave the state.

“When we invest in Rockford’s airport and the programs it boasts, we invest in Rockford’s people — advancing opportunity for every Northern Illinoisan,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Illinois is already a transportation powerhouse, and by working in close collaboration with our state’s powerhouse aviation companies, we are laying the groundwork to keep our communities connected, and competitive, for years to come.”

RFD supports more than 21,00 jobs and accounts for $4.7 billion in economic impact for the state.

“I’m grateful to Governor Pritzker for once again making sure Rockford has what it needs to thrive,” said mayor Tom McNamara. “The investments in the AAR training and workforce development are critical projects to our community and our residents.


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