U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Announces $10.4 Million for Appleton International Airport

Baldwin secured federal funding to establish Regional Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Training Center in the Fox Valley

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin announced that Appleton International Airport was awarded $10.4 million by the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a Regional Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Training Center. The Airport will partner with Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC). Senator Baldwin helped secure this federal funding to expand access to airport fire and rescue training services throughout the Great Lakes Region.

“Appleton International Airport is making a significant investment to expand educational and career opportunities in the Fox Valley, and is building upon its strong relationship with Fox Valley Technical College for training,” said Senator Baldwin. “Recent closures of aircraft rescue and firefighting training facilities have created a gap in training services throughout the Great Lakes Region. I worked to secure this federal funding to help close this gap by expanding training resources for airport firefighters in Wisconsin and to support the continued growth of our local economy.”

“This funding will be instrumental in creating a state of the art training center for airport firefighters to complete their FAA-required training. Our strong partnership with Fox Valley Technical College enables Appleton International Airport to build this facility at a fraction of the cost and make training services more accessible to airport first responders. Appleton International Airport appreciates Senator Baldwin’s work on our behalf to help secure an investment that will close the existing training services gap and bring airport first responders across the region to Wisconsin,” said Abe Weber, Airport Director of Appleton International Airport.

“This funding will help address a critical training need for airport emergency response personnel,” said Dr. Chris Matheny, vice president and chief academic officer at FVTC. “Through our partnership with the Appleton International Airport, the state-of-the-art Regional Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting (ARFF) Training Center will help ensure that airport firefighters are well prepared to respond when they are needed most. Thanks to partnerships at the local, state, and federal levels, this critical need will be met right here in Wisconsin, allowing emergency personnel from across the Midwest to maximize their training, minimize their costs, and improve their skills without needing to leave the region.” 

Matheny added that the partnership includes world-leading fire apparatus manufacturers Oshkosh Corporation and Pierce Manufacturing. He said college officials and industry training experts at FVTC are looking forward to sharing their combined expertise to enhance airport safety.  

An ARFF training service gap in the Midwest exists with recent facility closures in Duluth, Minnesota, and Battle Creek, Michigan. As such, there is difficulty in scheduling required training in the Midwest. Airports across the country are required to ensure aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel receive annual training. Airports and aviation organizations across the Midwest identified the existing facility and unique partnership between Appleton International Airport and Fox Valley Technical College that could fill the current gap in training facilities.

The ARFF training center will be constructed near FVTC’s Public Safety Training Center. Appleton International Airport and FVTC will also partner with industry-leading suppliers of fire safety vehicles, like Oshkosh Corporation and Pierce Manufacturing, who are both headquartered in the Fox Valley and support this project.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Baldwin secured language in the Fiscal Year 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill expressing concern about the training gap in the Great Lakes and directing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to identify a plan to address it, including through cost-effective solutions like partnerships.