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Thirty-eight organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $330,000 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The record amount of funding will be used to encourage more of Oklahoma’s students to enter STEM careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation. The funding was approved by the Commission at its most recent meeting.

The Commission approved an education grant for the Tulsa Community WorkAdvance program which is designed to bridge the skill gaps in Tulsa’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors.

The program provides short term, customized technical training and extensive soft skills training to underserved Tulsans that will enable them to enter new careers in high demand industries like aerospace. It is estimated that 40 individuals will participate.

Grants are awarded 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 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 to 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 the critical 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.

“The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission is proud to assist Tulsa Community WorkAdvance as a recipient of our aviation education grant program. The work being implemented by the organization is extremely important to OAC’s goal of increasing aviation STEM education in Oklahoma,” said Paula Kedy, Aerospace and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.

About the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission:

The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s mission is to promote aviation, which includes ensuring that the needs of commerce and communities across Oklahoma are met by the state’s 108 public airports that comprise the state system, and ensuring the viability of the state’s aerospace industry.