Blackwell Public Library Lands Aviation Education Grant to Explore “A Universe of Stories”
OKLAHOMA CITY – 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 the Blackwell Public Library program to be held in the summer of 2020. The funds will allow them to help develop an aviation and aerospace section to their already established “Makerspace” programs. The summer theme “A Universe of Stories” will allow students to have hands-on STEM activities and is designed 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. It is estimated that 50 students will participate. The requested amount was $2,924 and the approved amount was $2,308.
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.
“Blackwell Public Library is a first-time applicant and has the potential to really make a difference in the lives of their students. The exploration of the aviation and aerospace industry may spark them to choose a career in these fields. We wish them great success and look forward to assisting them in their program,” said Adam Fox, Aviation Program Manager and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.