OKLAHOMA CITY – Twenty-eight organizations were awarded Aerospace and Aviation Education Program grants or contracts totaling over $296,697 from the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission (OAC). The record amount of funds will be used to expose more school-aged children in Oklahoma 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.
The Commission approved an education grant for Tulsa Community WorkAdvance’s Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Job Training program. Tulsa Community WorkAdvance (TCW) is a unique program that is proven to bridge the skills gap in Tulsa’s aerospace and advanced manufacturing sectors. We provide short-term, customized technical training and extensive soft skills training to underserved Tulsans so they can start new careers in high-demand industries like advanced manufacturing and aerospace. TCW’s goal is to bridge the skills gap to drive economic growth and provide a pipeline of skilled workers to area employers while simultaneously increasing postsecondary credentials and employment for low-income Tulsans to break the cycle of poverty. The program is estimated to serve 60 adult students. The requested amount was $31,860.00 and the Commission granted $15,930.00.
The program, which has been awarding aviation education grants for over 30 years, is part of the OAC mission to encourage and promote aviation throughout the state of Oklahoma. Director of Aeronautics Vic Bird said aerospace supports 240,000 jobs with an average salary of $73,300 annually. “Last year, after a two-year study, 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,” said Bird.
The nationally recognized program enjoys a positive reputation as one of the most robust aviation education programs among state aviation agencies. OAC has provided nearly $1.9 million in education funding within the last 10 years alone.
“OAC is proud to assist Tulsa Community WorkAdvance’s Aerospace and Advanced Manufacturing Job Training as part of our aviation education grant program, and we look forward to seeing the progress they achieve with their students,” said Catherine Taber, aviation program manager and aviation education coordinator for the Commission.