SEMO aviation director looks to educate, curb local pilot shortage

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KBSI) – Southeast Missouri State University has a new aviation director.

Miranda Sullivan, who has been at SEMO since last year, has been hired to the position, as former director Dr. Ken Jackson recently retired.

Sullivan has been a faculty member since 2021 but will be able to accomplish more with the new position.

“Honestly, I really want to build that legacy of having put out a good quality aviator instead of a quantitative aviator,” said Sullivan. “I want this program to be really personalized. I want the students to feel like they’re getting more than an education here.”

SEMO’s new aviation program took flight last fall. As the first year began, 36 students were enrolled. Fast forward to this fall, and that number has grown to 58.

Sullivan explains that the growth is not just the educators, but the support and partnerships as well.

“The biggest thing with this program is the community support involvement and how much the university and the community and just everybody engaging with this program,” added Sullivan.

Pilot shortages are just another epidemic sweeping its way throughout the country. This program looks to alleviate the pilot shortage at the local and regional levels.

At the current time, approximately 11 percent of the workforce is lost. According to the consulting firm Oliver Wymen, the shortage is on track to hit a deficit of 30,000 pilots by 2025.

Added Sullivan: “This program will help increase how many pilots the aviation industry will get in order to meet the needs of the pilot shortage.”

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