The Commission approved an education grant for “Rockets Over Enid” to be held in the April of 2020. Enid Public Schools will implement a district-wide aerospace Project Based Learning (PBL) event for 4th and 5th graders culminating in a rocket design and flight competition. Aeronautical expertise from personnel at Vance Air Force Base and the support of the community will help to strengthen relationships with the United States Air Force as military experts collaborate with students on rocket design and launches. The funds will allow them to explore the fundamentals of flight through hands-on activities and is designed to build necessary skills in science, technology, engineering and math and to ensure that students are aware that those skills can lead to high demand careers in the field of aviation. It is estimated that 1,584 students will participate. The requested amount was $8,064 and the approved amount was $7,810.
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 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 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.
“Enid Public School is a first-time applicant and has the potential to really make a difference in the lives of their students. The exploration of the aviation and aerospace industry may spark them to choose a career in these fields. Vance Air Force Base is critical to pilot training and we are excited to see what they do with the program,” said Adam Fox, Aviation Program Manager and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.