Western Michigan’s foray into Charlotte County to take flight

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PUNTA GORDA, Fla. A new aviation technology program is taking off this semester in Charlotte County through Western Michigan University.

The university based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is expanding its presence in Florida. It has a law school in Riverview and offers more than a dozen bachelor’s and master’s degree programs through a partnership with Florida Southwestern State College’s Charlotte County campus.

One of the linchpins of the partnership is the aviation program, which offers four-year degrees in aviation science and management. Students will fly out of the Punta Gorda Airport.

“We’re starting out small, and we’re going to be growing,” said James Williams, WMU director of flight operations.

The partnership is proving a draw for businesses, said Dave Gammon, business recruitment supervisor for the Charlotte County Economic Development office.

“They see these graduates are going to come and help them so our workforce has just grown by attracting Western Michigan to come to our county,” Gammon said.

Aviation classes begin Sept. 5. Enrollment for this fall is closed, but the university is accepting applications for spring 2018.


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