John Morgan, Yavapai College Dean of the Technical Division, has been a key figure in the development of one of the most successful and fastest growing collegiate helicopter programs in the United States. The Yavapai College Professional Helicopter Pilot Program has an enrollment of almost 100 students. Approximately 80% of these students are U.S. Military Veterans utilizing their GI Bill veteran benefits.
The YC Professional Helicopter Pilot Program was established in spring of 2010 and to date is generating nearly $9 million in revenues annually, making this the highest revenue generating degree program at Yavapai College, surpassing current contributions from the State of Arizona.
Yavapai College isn’t the only beneficiary of this successful program. The College’s aviation training partner in the Professional Helicopter Pilot Program is Guidance Aviation. Established in Prescott, Arizona in 1998, Guidance now employs more than 50 professionals, dozens of whom are Yavapai College and Embry-Riddle University Graduates. Yavapai County and the City of Prescott have benefitted greatly with a positive economic impact on the local community. Helicopter flight training has resulted in over $1.2 million worth of fuel purchased in the past year, increasing fuel revenues to the City of Prescott and Legend Aviation. With over 100 flight students and their families you begin to see the positive impact this program has made on the local economy.
Bill Cheek of William V. Cheek and Associates, an aviation consultancy, which authored the 2006 Prescott Airport Economic Impact Study, confirmed the significance of the economic influence of the Yavapai College Professional Helicopter Pilot Program. “When taking the direct and indirect expenses of the helicopter program, adding them together and then using a multiplier of .9, typical for these studies, we estimate the total economic impact of Yavapai College – Guidance Aviation helicopter program on the wider community to be $15.2 million,” states Cheek.
As a result of Yavapai College’s program success, Guidance Aviation established the Guidance Scholarship for helicopter flight training students in need of financial assistance. To date, Guidance Aviation has donated $26,000 to the Yavapai College Foundation for student scholarships.
Jobs at Yavapai College have also been positively impacted as a result of the program. Yavapai College has hired a large number Guidance Aviation Instructors as adjunct Professors at the College as well as two full time positions. The success of the helicopter program has prompted Yavapai College to add another aviation program for airplane training.
“Guidance Aviation is a remarkable success story. They’re a small business start-up that has steadily grown into one of the area’s top employers. The City of Prescott is proud to have Guidance Aviation based at our airport and we recognize the tremendous contributions to the community in terms of economic impact, educational opportunity, and charitable activity,” stated Mayor Kuykendall, City of Prescott, Arizona.
Also commenting on the program, Mr. Tom Thurman, Chairman, District 2, Board of County Supervisors, “I am so proud of Yavapai College and our other academic facilities in Yavapai County not only for sales tax and Jobs, but for putting our area in the forefront for small communities in the Aerospace industry.”
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