Aeronautics Aviation Education Program Sets Record Granted Amount

OKLAHOMA CITY – The month of August sends youth back to school which means a returned focus on vectoring young minds toward the exploration of aviation and aerospace for the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC).

Twenty-eight organizations were recently awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling $296,697 from OAC. The record amount of funding is a vital resource to educators for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) instruction concentrating on aerospace and aviation.  The funding was approved by the Commission at their August 9 meeting.

The program, which has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years, is part of the OAC mission to encourage and promote aviation throughout the state of Oklahoma. Director of Aeronautics Vic Bird said aerospace supports 240,000 jobs with an average salary of $73,300 annually.  “Last year, after a two-year study, 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,” said Bird.

The nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies.  OAC has provided nearly $1.9 million in education funding within the last 10 years alone.

“This year’s program received 31 applications by the May 31 deadline.  Of those, 28 were recommended to the Commission for approval,” said Catherine Taber, aviation program manager and aviation education coordinator for the Commission. “Much like last year, the sum for funding requests was substantial, totaling $651,624. Eight applicants were new to the program including the City of Altus, Gordon Cooper Technology Center, and Okmulgee and Owasso Public School,” Taber said.

In order for a program to be eligible for an aviation education grant or contract, it must meet certain requirements in the Oklahoma Administrative Code. Most importantly, the program must demonstrate that its curriculum is geared toward aviation and aerospace.  Applicants must provide receipts and are only reimbursed for those items outlined in the application for their program. 

The following grants were approved by OAC Commissioners August 9: 

Ada City School District, $20,000

Bethany Middle School, $3,100

City of Altus, $2,250

Class Matters, Inc $5,000

Dove Science Academy South OKC, $19,900

FIRST Robotics Competition, Oklahoma Region, $5,000

Gordon Cooper Technology Center, $10,000

Greatest Stories Never Told, $7,000

Guthrie Edmond Regional Airport, $1,211

Guthrie Junior High, $5,000

KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, $10,500

Merritt Public Schools, $1,362

MetroTechnology Centers, Aviation Career Campus, ACE Camp, $13,250

Newspapers in Education Institute, $5,000

Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, OK2Grow Foundation, $10,000

Oklahoma Science and Engineering Foundation, $5,000

Oklahoma State University, Speedfest, $12,500

Okmulgee Public School, $7,500

Owasso High School, $6,432

Rose State College, Aerospace Discovery Camp, $12,000

Southeastern Oklahoma State University, SE Take Flight! Camp, $6,000

Space Pal USA, $5,000

STAAR Solutions, $25,000

STARBASE Oklahoma Inc., $27,500

Thick Descriptions, $7,000

Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, $15,930

Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., $1,762

University of Oklahoma, Sooner Flight Academy, $46,750