Thirty-nine organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $299,235 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The record amount of funds will be used to bring more school-aged children in Oklahoma to STEM careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation. The funding was approved by the Commission at their most recent meeting.
The Commission approved an education grant for Ada City School District for the program held August 10, 2019 – June 30, 2020. “The Sky is Not the Limit” is an aerospace education program designed by Ada City School District to build necessary skills in science, technology, engineering and math and to ensure that students are aware that those skills can lead to high demand careers in the field of aviation.
The Ada City School District was one of 29 schools in the nation selected to field test an aviation curriculum developed by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). This new curriculum has been designed to provide aviation career pathways of course work which will help students build career‐ready skills while learning about opportunities in aviation and aerospace. The AOPA’s curriculum has two pathways teachers can teach, Pilot and UAS. The curriculum is designed for 9th grade level through 12th and will allow students to be prepared to take their Private Pilot Written Exam or their Part 107 UAS Certification. Ada will be the only school in Oklahoma teaching the 11th grade curriculum starting next week. The students within the Ada City School District will be able to participate in hands-on activities and flight simulation at their aviation flight lab. Administration in Ada has successfully backed AOPA’s aviation curriculum all the way down to their PreK students; Successfully creating an aviation career pathway plan.
It is estimated that 2,650 students will participate. The requested amount was $35,044 and the approved amount was $23,000.
Grants are for targeted learning programs that have a direct application to aerospace and aviation for primary through post-secondary education. The grant funds are part of the agency’s initiative to give more Oklahoma young people access to STEM careers in the aerospace and aviation industry.
The aerospace and aviation grant program, which has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years. Charged with the mission by state statute, the Commission fosters and encourages students to consider aerospace or aviation as a career. The Commission’s grant program has years of positive results. The initiative supports the Oklahoma Works project that aims to address the skills gap and connect students to programs that will help build the workforce of Oklahoma’s second largest industry.
Director of Aeronautics Victor Bird said aerospace supports 240,000 jobs with an average salary of $73,300 annually; “After a two-year study concluded in 2017, we learned that the Aviation and Aerospace sector in Oklahoma supports $43.7 billion in annual statewide economic activity. A competent workforce, which includes our desperate need for aerospace engineers, will be needed to sustain this industry”.
The nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. Since FY2001, it has awarded over $2.8M in aerospace and aviation education grants.
“OAC is proud to assist Ada City School District in their third year as a grant recipient of our aviation education grant program, and they have been a model school for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) aviation course curriculum,” said Adam Fox, Aviation Program Manager and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.