The Commission approved an education contract for KISS Robotics' Botball and Junior Botball Challenge Robotics program. Workshops and tournaments will occur from August 1, 2019, through May 10, 2020. The program will serve approximately 4,000 students in grades K-12. The majority of the contract will provide funding of scholarships for Botball team registrations. Scholarship priority is given to inner city and rural schools, and schools serving underserved populations. Mentors are utilized from the University of Oklahoma’s Aerospace/Mechanical Engineering Department, as well as from aerospace companies and the FAA, Sooner Flight Academy and Tinker Air Force Base.
As part of a team, students will work with cutting edge technology and use the knowledge they gained in more traditional subjects to solve open ended, real world problems. Participation will expose them to career paths in science, technology, math, computer programming and engineering and give them practice in the real life skills of project management, documentation and presentation, and systems engineering. Also, teachers who mentor the teams participating in the Botball challenges will become better acclimated to teaching STEM and doing STEM related projects.
The requested amount was $10,500; staff recommendation is for $10,500.
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.
“OAC is proud to assist KISS Robotics for a eleventh consecutive year as a grant recipient of our aviation education grant 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.