SJVC Fresno’s Aviation campus welcomes Congressman Jim Costa
As a member of congress representing California’s 16th District, Jim Costa enjoys getting out into the communities his office serves and meeting local businesses and constituents. During the 40 years he has held governmental offices, he has come to recognize many of those businesses as providing an important service to their communities, San Joaquin Valley College among them.
A long-term supporter of the College, Congressman Costa has attended many campus and corporate functions, including celebrations of SJVC milestones, building dedications, campus graduations and major industry accomplishments.
“He actually announced his first run for congress at the Visalia campus 14 years ago,” says Sue Montgomery, Director of Institutional Partnerships. “He wanted to show his support for businesses in the Valley.”
In the years since, Congressman Costa had visited several SJVC campuses, but never the Aviation campus – until just recently. There was a good bit of excitement in the air as he toured the campus and spoke with instructors and Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) students.
“Congressman Costa knows a lot about aviation because he has about 4 million flight miles, flying back-and-forth from Fresno to Washington, D.C. every weekend,” says Sue. “He is very in tune with airlines and the aviation business because he sees how busy the airports are and how much in need they are for well-trained mechanics.”
Congressman Costa watched several Aviation students while they built a composite piece for an airplane, a very lengthy process with many steps. He also met with students who were working in the main hangar where they practice their Airframe and Powerplant skills.
Costa asked students their names and if they enjoyed the aircraft mechanic program. Students shared that they were glad to be in the class and were excited to get into the field.
“What was really cool is that the Congressman told our students that they were attending a very good school with a great reputation, and that they had a promising career ahead of them in aviation,” says Sue. “He told them that the industry is in a big growth mode and that they would be getting strong employment opportunities.”
Congressman Costa was a little surprised to find that all SJVC’s Aviation campus instructors, as well as the Campus Director, were graduates of the program. Instructor and program graduate Brian Nusser explained his decision to join the faculty. “He told the congressman that SJVC had given him everything that was important to him in his life regarding a career,” says Sue. “Brian said that he owed his career to SJVC and wanted to come back and give to the students what he got.”
Another instructor, Jerome Gay, had worked in the aviation industry for 20 years after he graduated from the Fresno Aviation Maintenance program. He had done very well in that industry and had become a Quality Control Inspector. The Aviation campus managed to lure him back.
On-site visits by elected officials benefit everyone involved. “Having our governmental representatives attend tours of each of our campuses is good for them because they can meet their constituents,” says Sue. “It’s good for our students because it shows them how our College gives back to the communities that they, too, serve.”
SJVC looks forward to continuing to invite local, state and national leaders to see first-hand the benefits of the services each campus provides their students and the communities they both serve.
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