Wayne Community College has entered a partnership with Delta Airlines to train aircraft maintenance technicians, officials announced.

The college's Aviation Systems Technology program is one of 42 Aviation Maintenance Technician, or AMT, schools across the United States selected by Delta to be a "preferred training institution" for airframe and power plant mechanics.

It was evaluated by Delta TechOps personnel and found to meet Federal Aviation Administration standards as well as Delta's high principles that exceed industry standards, said Joe McDermott, managing director of cabin maintenance, training, safety and support services for Delta.

The role of an AMT is to keep aircraft in safe flying condition by servicing, repairing and overhauling aircraft and aircraft components while following detailed federal regulations set by the FAA.

The airline industry is anticipating AMTs to be in high demand in the next few years.

According to a recent report by international management consulting firm Oliver Wyman, the demand for AMTs is "forecast to outstrip supply by 9 percent" by 2027, due in part to a record number of technicians expected to retire.

WCC chair of the Aviation Systems Technology department Mark Peeples estimated that each of the 150 aviation maintenance programs in the nation will have to produce more than 226 graduates each year over the next 20 years to meet the need.

"The jobs are everywhere," he said. "My phone rings a half dozen times a week - 'Do you have any people who want to go to work?'"

The partnership between Delta and WCC will benefit students by gaining Delta as a resource for continuous improvement of the AMT program along with assistance marketing the program to prospective students, McDermott said, adding that it will also broaden access to related careers within the global aviation industry.

"We know we have a good program here," Peeples said, noting that students have come from as far as New Jersey to participate in it and that 100 percent of his graduates pass their FAA exams. "We're happy that Delta is willing to start growing for their program here."

WCC offers an associate in applied science degree in Aviation Systems Technology and diplomas in Airframe and Power Plant. The program has been FAA Part 147-approved since 1969.