The Commission approved an education contract for OKBest Robotics. The program will run from September 2019 – November 2019. OKBest Robotics is a volunteer organization that seeks to encourage middle school and high school aged students to consider careers in STEM. OKBest carries out its goals through a no cost to schools six-week robot building contest. Given a robot kit free of charge, school teams will assemble and compete their robot against other schools in hopes to advance to the next round in Texas. Students will be required to give oral and written presentations alongside keeping engineering notebooks about their robots. Similar to aircraft structures mechanics and sheet metal works within the aviation industry, students designing and building the robot kits will be required to work with the same precision. It is estimated the program will reach 150 students. The requested amount was $1,500; staff recommendation was for $1,500.
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 206,000 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 OKBest Robotics as a first-time 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.