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NEWS | Feb. 4, 2022

305th MXG lays groundwork for Training Academy of the Future

By Airman 1st Class Joseph Morales Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Public Affairs

The 305th Maintenance Group hosted Atlantic County Economic Alliance, Federal Aviation Administration, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University representatives on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., Jan. 26, 2022, to discuss and foster the growth and development of an Aviation Training Academy of the Future.

The partnership to create the Aviation Training Academy of the Future will offer learning opportunities for different career fields within the aviation industry, ranging from aerial port, supply chain management, cargo, and unmanned aerial systems. Airmen assigned to the 305th MXG will have access to the academy as a method of learning to elevate their knowledge and expertise within their respective career fields and beyond.

“We can share best practices with our civilian industry counterparts in how they train, equip, maintain, and operate aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Austin Barkdoll, 305th Maintenance Group senior process manager. “We can take those best practices and see if it would be a good fit in the Air Force and Department of Defense. Likewise, our civilian partners can take our best practices to learn how we train and maintain.”

The Aviation Training Academy of the Future aims to train students to safely maintain current and emerging technologies in the aviation and aerospace sciences while developing multi-capable Airmen for agile combat deployment.

“Airmen will be able to attend training there… and partner with the FAA and the Atlantic City airport to expedite innovation we want to bring into the Air Force through research, development, and evaluation,” Barkdoll said. “A really important part of this partnership is developing a new method and a new style of teaching, leveraging new technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to teach maintainers faster and with more information.”

The 305th MXG is actively working with ERAU, FAA, and ACEA to determine the academic content and skills needed for aviation maintenance workers of the future. According to Barkdoll, the partnership aims to provide military aviation maintenance workers with FAA certifications and licenses to utilize within their military careers or when transitioning into the civilian aviation industry.

“The meeting last week was pivotal as it showcased how the government is innovating with industry in an effort to train future Airmen and maintenance technicians in a manner that benefits New Jersey and our national aviation system,” said Jon D. Schleifer, FAA Research and Development Management Division manager. “It is our desire to participate in innovative approaches to enhance an aviation workforce of the future.”

The Academy will be located within the state-designated Aviation District, also known as the New Jersey Aviation Innovation Hub. Planning for the Academy began in early 2022 with a completion date to be determined.

“This effort benefits the Airmen, the future maintainers of aircraft, and southern New Jersey,” Schleifer said. “Each partner has a motivation for pursuing shared success: however, when our interests align, we can move forward, farther and faster to benefit all... We all are seeking to build an aviation workforce for the future.”