PIA and Myrtle Beach International Airport Host High School Students for Career Day Focused on Growing Demand for Aviation Jobs

December 10, 2021 — Myrtle Beach, SC — Recently, the Socastee High School Air Force Junior Reserve Training Corps (AFJRTC) visited the Myrtle Beach Airport for a career day organized by the Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA), which introduced cadets to in-demand job opportunities in the aviation and airport services fields.

AFJRTC cadets learned about a variety of airport careers thanks to participation by representatives from several departments including TSA, Fire, Operations, Communications, and more. They also learned about ongoing and upcoming projects at Myrtle Beach airport, including expansion of the terminal, upgrades to communications and security, a roof/canopy for the rental car lot, fuel farm expansion, and a hangar that is used by PIA students during their aviation maintenance training.

“The Air Force Junior Reserve Training Corps cadets had a great time and learned some very interesting facts about PIA. I was especially amazed by the job placement percentage that PIA has achieved. The airport staff was very friendly and gave us a great tour. I look forward to bringing cadets back next year!” said Socastee High School AFJRTC Instructor Kevin Chronister.

The day’s tour and presentation was led by Myrtle Beach Airport Operations Supervisor Jacob Thomas, an alumnus of PIA’s Myrtle Beach campus. Thomas was joined throughout the day by fellow experts in various airport departments, including Director of Operations Charlie Bree, Airport Operations Supervisor Lexi Chiappetta, Director of Public Safety Peter DeGruccio, Communication Center Manager Brian Ghent, and Airport Operations Supervisor David Heinbaugh.

“We’re delighted to be able to partner with PIA to provide educational opportunities to local students,” said Scott Van Moppes, Director of Airports at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.  “We love to see young people excited about aviation and hope that these tours will help inspire the next generation to pursue careers in this field.”

Currently, 155 people are employed across eight departments and four airports within the Horry County Department of Airports, which includes Myrtle Beach International Airport, Grand Strand, Conway, and Loris. These four airports serve a total of 10 different airlines, all of which are in need of avionics experts, aviation maintenance technicians, and other rewarding “hands-on” careers — especially due to the large number of current technicians scheduled to retire in the next ten years.

Filling the high demand for aviation maintenance jobs is a major challenge, as current demand far outpaces the available supply of trained employees. According to Boeing statistics for the commercial aviation industry alone (not inclusive of numerous additional sectors of aviation), the industry will need 626,000 new AMTs to join the global workforce between 2021 and 2040 with 132,000 of those mechanics needed in North America alone.

“Teaching young learners about jobs that they may not even know exist is a great way to get them thinking about career paths they may not otherwise become aware of,” says PIA President and CEO Suzanne Markle. “We are thrilled to work with our friends at the Myrtle Beach International Airport to help introduce students to these rewarding career options, because the future of aviation depends on airports, airlines, and training programs working together to attract new talent into the field.”

Source: Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics



With roots tracing to the Curtiss-Wright Flying Service, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics (PIA) was officially founded in 1929. Today, PIA is a non-profit, career-focused family of schools offering programs in Aviation Maintenance and Aviation Electronics.

The instructional staff combine real-world experience with classroom instruction, and a wide range of student and graduate services.  PIA’s Career Services team works individually with each student to reach their employment goals. PIA is often the first stop for many employers looking for quality employees. PIA offers an Associate in Specialized Technology Degree at its West Mifflin, PA, location and Diploma programs in Youngstown, OH, Hagerstown, MD, and Myrtle Beach, SC.

Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics was recognized as the #1 school fighting the nation’s skills gap in a list published in 2018 by Forbes.

There is open enrollment through the year accompanied with admissions requirements. For more information, call 1-800-444-1440, or visit

About the Myrtle Beach International Airport (MYR)

The Myrtle Beach International Airport is the gateway to Myrtle Beach, SC, the Grand Strand and the Hammock Coast. The Myrtle Beach International Airport is owned by Horry County and operated by the Department of Airports. MYR is served by Allegiant, American, Delta, Frontier, Porter, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country, and United Airlines.