Edmond area schools and Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport to host programs with education grant funding from the Aeronautics Commission

OKLAHOMA CITY – Fifty organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants totaling over $365,000 at the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission’s (OAC) August meeting. 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.

“As someone who works in the aerospace and aviation industry, I’m thrilled that these innovative programs received these grants. This industry is booming, but we currently don’t have the workforce to meet the ever-growing demand for highly-trained and educated individuals,” said Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond. “These programs open the minds of our youth to the endless career possibilities that this industry has to offer. Oklahoma’s future is so bright because of this great industry and these incredible educational opportunities.”

The commission approved a $7,000 education grant for Deer Creek Public Schools “High School Aviation” program using the AOPA curriculum. This program introduces students to the history of aviation, careers in aviation and aerospace, and basics of dynamics of flight.  

“I’m thankful that the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission has provided these grants for our Edmond and Deer Creek students to participate in this innovative and exciting program that will introduce them to the many careers available within the aerospace and aviation industry,” said Rep. Nicole Miller, R-Edmond. “My own family is supported by the aviation industry and I’m glad to see these opportunities furthered and supported within our state.”

Edmond North High School Air Force (AF) Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) also received a grant from the commission in the amount of $12,500 for their “AFJROTC Aerospace Education” program which exposes 9th-12th-graders to the role of aerospace in Oklahoma. They will explore military aerospace forces, career, and educational opportunities, and the use of immersive aviation simulators, preparing students to earn a private pilot certificate.  

“I want to thank the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission for making these grants available to the schools in my House district,” said Rep. Ryan Martinez, R-Edmond. “Giving our students a vision of what’s possible and the tools to accomplish their goals puts them on an excellent path for future success.”

“These grants are exciting news for the students and educators in my House district,” said Rep. Mike Osburn, R-Edmond. “Gaining more knowledge about the growing fields of aerospace and aviation will help students decide if this is a possible career path, and it broadens their skill set. A big win for these young people and our district.”

The commission also approved a grant for $1,350 to the Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport (GOK).  Their one-day camp provides hands-on STEM including the four forces of flight; building paper airplanes & styrogliders, learning parts of the airplane and what those parts do to control the aircraft, and building and launching rockets.  

“Getting students interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is going to help open the door to some of the best-paying jobs there are,” said Sen. Chuck Hall, R-Perry.  “I’m sure some of the kids will be inspired to explore possibilities in the aviation industry.  I’d like to express my thanks to the Aeronautics Commission and the Guthrie-Edmond Regional Airport for their efforts to show Oklahoma students the possibilities available to them in aerospace and aviation.”

The Aerospace and Aviation Education 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 connect students to programs that will help build the workforce of Oklahoma’s second-largest industry.

The OAC’s nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. For the 2021-22 school year, Oklahoma will rank #3 in the country in the number of schools teaching the AOPA curriculum. Since FY2001, the Commission has awarded $4.15 million in aerospace and aviation education grants.

“These Edmond-based organizations have been a great partner with the Aeronautics Commission and are making a difference in the lives of their students.  We know that these educators and airport managers are providing students with valuable insight into the potential for a future aviation and aerospace career, and we wish them great success with their programs,” said Paula Kedy, MA. Ed., Aerospace and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.

Watch the full meeting at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfvqUmcWmrY&t=15s.