Fifty organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants totaling over $365,000 at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s (OAC) August meeting. 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 Education Grant Program 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.
“STEM educational programs are such an important factor for our students and our state. To grow and diversify our economy, we need more kids going into aerospace and aviation careers and supporting STEM programming for students will help achieve those goals. I’m very proud of the grant recipients for their work in encouraging students to explore STEM, and I applaud the Aeronautics Commission for their support of our students and our schools via this terrific grant program.” Sen. Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City.
“I’m very excited to see so many of these aerospace and aviation education grants being awarded to schools and programs in the Oklahoma City metro. Inspiring students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math means they’ll be able to enter some of the best-paying careers,” said Sen. Kay Floyd, D-Oklahoma City. “We also know that women have historically been under-represented in STEM, so I truly appreciate the effort the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has made to award grants to organizations that can help bridge this gap.”
The OAC’s nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. For the 2021-22 school year, Oklahoma will rank #3 in the country in the number of schools teaching the AOPA curriculum. Since FY2001, the Commission has awarded $4.15 million in aerospace and aviation education grants.
“Having attended a robotics competition and seeing it first-hand, I’m pleased to see these grants given to the Oklahoma Science and Engineering Foundation will be used to help our students learn more about robotics. I look forward to seeing the impact these programs make in the lives of our students,” said Rep. Marilyn Stark, R-Bethany.
“Oklahoma City area educators and organizations are making a real difference in the lives of students. We know that these aviation and aerospace-minded professionals are providing valuable insight into the potential for a future aviation and aerospace career for people of all ages, and we wish them great success with their programs,” said Paula Kedy, MA. Ed., Aerospace and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.
Watch the full meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfvqUmcWmrY&t=15s.