McAlester High School Lands Aviation Education Grant
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 Aerospace and Engineering 1 course. McAlester High School's Aerospace Engineering class will prepare students to take the Private Pilot and Part 107 Remote Pilot certification written test by exposing them to rigorous course work through the AOPA’ HS Aviation Curriculum. This course will expose them to the aviation industry as a whole, from the history of aviation to hands-on experience with a flight simulator. In Addition, McAlester will collaborate with Spirit Aerodynamics, the Unmanned Aircraft Systems Integration Pilot Program via the Choctaw Nation, and the McAlester Regional Airport to give their students real-time, real-world experiences. The experiences will help foster a deeper understanding of careers in the aviation and aerospace industry. It is estimated 60 students will benefit from this program. The requested amount was $8,218; staff recommendation was for $5,000.
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 McAlester Schools as a first-year recipient of our aviation education grant program.” said Adam Fox, Aviation Program Manager and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.