Twenty-five organizations were recently awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $270,000 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The record amount of funds will be used to educate more school-aged children to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers, particularly those in aerospace and aviation. The funding was approved by the commission at their most recent meeting.
With the release of a two-year study on the Economic Impact of Aviation & Aerospace and Oklahoma, agency director Vic Bird feels confident that the program is working. “Aviation and Aerospace industries in Oklahoma support $43.7 billion in annual statewide economic activity, and we must prepare our young people to be part of that workforce, directing them into STEM and aerospace engineering, as well as becoming pilots,” Bird said.
Bird said aerospace is now one of the state’s top two industries and when all direct and indirect impacts are considered, there are almost 240,400 jobs that are supported by or benefit from aviation and aerospace. OAC has provided nearly $1.9 million in education funding within the last 10 years alone.
This was the agency’s biggest year in terms of funding requests totaling over $640,000. The Commission added new programs such as Ada City School District, Cameron University and Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, among others.
The following grants were approved August 23:
- Ada City School District, $15,000
- Cameron University, $10,300
- Enid Public Schools, $9,890
- FIRST Robotics Competition, Oklahoma Region, $5,000
- Fort Gibson High School Robotics, $1,600
- KISS Institute for Practical Robotics, $10,500
- Merritt Public Schools, $1,500
- MetroTechnology Centers, Aviation Career Campus, ACE Camp, $13,240
- Newspapers in Education Institute, $5,000
- Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership (OEIP), $7,500
- Oklahoma Engineering Foundation, $5,000
- Oklahoma State University, Speedfest, $12,500
- Ponca City Regional Airport, Northern Oklahoma Flight Academy, $10,200
- Rose State College, Aerospace Discovery Camp, $12,000
- Salina Public Schools, $8,492
- Southeastern Oklahoma State University, SE Take Flight! Camp, $6,000
- Space Pal USA, $5,000
- Stafford Air & Space Museum, $15,107
- STARBASE Oklahoma Inc., $27,500
- Thick Descriptions, $6,630
- Tulsa Air & Space Museum, $11,500
- Tulsa Airports Improvement Trust, $11,500
- Tulsa Community WorkAdvance, $16,720
- Tulsa Regional STEM Alliance, $5,000
- University of Oklahoma, Sooner Flight Academy, $46,750.