The Commission approved an education contract for the Oklahoma Regional FIRST Robotics Competition, which will be held in March 7-9, 2019 at the Cox Convention Center. More than 1,200 students in grades 7-12 will compete in the event. Students are required to use STEM principles to design and build their robots, skills that are critical to the future of Oklahoma’s aerospace and aviation workforce. Various Oklahoma aerospace companies as well as Tinker Air Force Base will mentor and/or assist in sponsorship of FIRST Robotics teams. FIRST uses robotics to inspire youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Outcomes are directly linked to the demand for a technically literate workforce. The requested amount was $5,000.00 and the granted amount was $5,000.00.
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.
“OAC is proud to assist FIRST Robotics as a grant recipient and has done so now for ten years consecutively as a part of our aviation education grant program, and we look forward to seeing the progress they achieve with their students,” said Catherine Taber, aviation program manager and aviation education coordinator for the Commission.