OKLAHOMA CITY – Thirty-nine organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $299,235 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The record amount of funds will be used to bring more school-aged children in Oklahoma to STEM careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation. The funding was approved by the Commission at their most recent meeting.
The Commission approved an education grant for Merritt Public Schools STEM program. “Up, Up, and Away” is a project that will incorporate STEM with reading and social studies and will include building and launching rockets, a tour of the Stafford Air and Space Museum, and lessons on the history of aviation and space flight. It is estimated that 175 students will participate. The requested amount was $1,275; staff recommendation was for $1,275.
The Up, Up, and Away program will incorporate STEM with reading and social studies and will include building and launching rockets, tour of the Stafford Air and Space Museum, and lessons on the history of aviation and space flight. Students will then prepare short videos/presentations explaining their experiences at the Stafford Museum. The experience of the project and field trip will enhance students’ knowledge of how rockets are designed, constructed, the general operation of launching, as well as the history of aviation and space flight.
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 Merritt School District in their second year as a grant recipient of our aviation education grant program, and we look forward to watching their success,” said Adam Fox, Aviation Program Manager and Aviation Education Coordinator for the Commission.