State Senator Robert Stewart secures funds for Rural Aviation

Published 11:16 am Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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State Senator Robert Stewart secured a $2 million appropriation for “Rural Aviation Consortium” in the Black Belt.

Stewart said the consortium will be a partnership between Craig Field, Marion Military Institute, and Wallace Community College Selma.

“The consortium will increase access and create pathways into the aviation profession for students in the Black Belt,” Stewart said.

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Stewart also thanked Alabama Community College System Chancellor Jimmy Baker, Craig Field Airport & Industrial Authority Jim Corrigan,  President of Marion Military Institute Colonel David Mollahan and WCCS President-CEO Dr. James Mitchell for their support, vision and leadership.

Mitchell called the Black Belt experiment a “game changer.”

“Implementation of the Rural Aviation Consortium is a game changer for Selma, Dallas County and the Black Belt,” Mitchell said. “This innovative initiative will address the shortage of African-American pilots, and other related aviation services. It will also enhance the growth and vitality of Craig Field Airport.

“This program will provide greater access and opportunity for students in the Black Belt. Last but certainly not least, it will create a more diverse skilled workforce.  Thanks a million, to State Senator Robert Stewart for his vision and innovative approach.’’

Corrigan said he’s grateful for Stewart bringing a rural aviation consortium to Dallas County.

“I am very proud to be a part of the newly established rural aviation consortium led by Senator Robert Stewart,” Corrigan said.

“ This effort will bring opportunities for rural youth to train for careers in aviation mechanics, air traffic control and, as pilots.  I look forward to working with this talented group to open new doors for our rural youth.”

Selma-Dallas County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Wayne Vardaman praised  the effort of both Stewart and Corrigan.

“We certainly appreciate Senator Stewart’s help in securing funding for aviation education at Craig Field,” Vardaman said. “ Jim Corrigan has worked very hard to make this a reality.  We are very proud of the potential this program has for the future”.