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Local college students excited for Project Thunderbird

Local Greensboro colleges and universities are preparing for the major economic boost coming from Project Thunderbird at PTI Airport.

GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — The time has almost come. In less than 24 hours, we'll find out the aircraft manufacturer that'll move into PTI airport. Right now, it's called Project Thunderbird. 

The $500-million investment will create more than 1,700 jobs. The average salary will be $69,000 a year.

Two local colleges are preparing for the economic boost while the colleges work to meet the needs of these large companies. It's not just the universities that are excited. It's also the students because they too will benefit from the opportunities to come.

"It would be cool to build one of these planes and maybe fly them," aviation student Liam McCann said.

RELATED: Project Thunderbird expected to impact real estate in Greensboro

It was love at first sight or more like flight. McCann said it's a dream come true being an aviation student at Guilford Technical Community College.

"It's a great job opportunity, and some of the companies that are coming in have a lot of spots open, and it's just getting us ready for that," McCann said.

He started in the program this month. As he learns the structure of aircraft, he is excited about the future.

"It's gonna be awesome for new planes coming out, it's just all-around great right here in Greensboro, so I won't have to move far away if I do choose to work for them," McCann said.

RELATED: 'This is not the last of the big announcements' | Guilford County prepares for a major economic boost at PTI airport

Nicolas Yale is the director of the aviation program at GTCC. He said the college is involved in the big PTI announcement for quite some time.

"That's kinda key for the industry. If you can't find the talent, then they can't run the business, so that's part of the reason why we're as lucky as we are," Yale said.

Their aviation program has five different programs ranging from teaching students to become pilots to building aircraft and everything in between. They aren't the only ones prepping students for future jobs.

RELATED: Economic announcement expected Wednesday at PTI

"When you have such a large company that locates here, it naturally looks to us for our graduates as future employees, and it looks to us to provide training for their existing workforce," Professor of Engineering at NC A&T Sanjiv Sarin said.

From students to professors, and directors at these campuses, everyone is excited for tomorrow. That's when we will officially learn the name of the large manufacturer coming to the Triad.

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