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 Guthrie Edmond Regional Airport (GOK) 2-Day Summer Flight Camp to engage and inspire Oklahoma’s next generation to become leaders in the aviation industry and in the fields of STEM. The program will include: Four Forces of Flight; Building Paper Airplanes & Styrogliders and learning parts of the airplane and what those parts do to control the aircraft; Building and Launching Rockets and how the four forces of flight effect the direction of flight on the airplane and rocket both. Approximately 150 students will be served. The requested amount was $2,275 and the granted amount was $1,500.
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.
“Schellon Stanley serves as the Airport Director at Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport and has really done an incredible job with her summer camp. She partners with the local Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter to provide first-flights to students and gives them a solid foundation of information on the forces of flight,” said Adam Fox, Aviation Program Manager and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.