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 contract for Tulsa Community WorkAdvance’s Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Job Training program. Tulsa Community WorkAdvance (TCW) is a unique program that is proven to bridge the skills gap in Tulsa’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors. TCW’s goals bridge the skills gap to drive economic growth and provide a pipeline of skilled workers to area employers while simultaneously increasing postsecondary credentials and employment for low-income Tulsans to break the cycle of poverty. The program was estimated to serve 60 adult students. The requested amount was $29,406; staff recommendation was for $15,930.
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 206,000 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.
“Tulsa Community WorkAdvance’s Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Job Training program is a great program, and we look forward to seeing the progress they achieve with their students,” said Adam Fox, aviation program manager 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.