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EFSC's First Aviation Class Graduates

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August 24, 2017 - The first graduating class from Eastern Florida State College’s new aviation maintenance technician program received their certificates Thursday, opening the door to a fast-growing career field.

EFSC Aviation Program GraduatesThe FAA-approved A&P program, based at the college’s Aviation Center at Melbourne International Airport, serves as a pipeline to provide highly-skilled workers to companies such as Embraer, AAR and others that are fueling the airport’s rapidly expanding commercial aviation sector.

Students also have job opportunities at companies such as SpaceX, Boeing and Blue Origin that are launching the next-generation of human spaceflight at Kennedy Space Center.

"This is a very important day for all of us," said Lanny Schott, Director of Aviation Programs. "This first group has gone through a lot to get here and I’m proud of them.

EFSC Aviation Program Graduation Ceremony
Aviation Program Director Lanny Schott addresses the A&P program's first graduating class.

"This is an incredible time to be coming into the job market because companies are searching for qualified employees like them. I am excited to see what the future holds for each and every one of them."

Among those honored during a ceremony at the King Center for the Performing Arts on the Melbourne campus was Luke Smegal, who is looking forward to putting what he learned to work in aviation.

"We are breaking ground here. It is just nice to be able to graduate and become a good mechanic," Smegal said.

Graduate Gabriel Castillo grew up in Rockledge and is hoping his training leads to a job in aerospace.

Dr. Linda Miedema and aviation grad Gabriel Castillo
EFSC Academic/Student Affairs V.P. Dr. Linda Miedema presents Gabriel Castillo with his aviation certificate.

"It means a lot," Castillo said. "This is the first class coming from the Space Coast and this area has a lot of opportunities in aviation.

"This is a great program and it means a lot to me to be a part of this first class."

Castillo enrolled in the program after he saw a sign for an Open House informational session at the Aviation Center. The next thing he knew, he was one of the 17 students to receive his certificate Thursday.

"I was looking for a new career and aviation was one of my thoughts," Castillo said. "I went to the Open House and here I am."

To learn more about the Aviation Center and its programs, visit