OSU, Partners developing Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace pipeline with support from FAA grant
Friday, September 23, 2022
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Strengthening Oklahoma’s aviation and aerospace workforce pipeline is one of the top priorities for the state. To support the development of this pipeline, Oklahoma State University is partnering with OSU-Tulsa, Tulsa Tech, Tulsa Community College (TCC), Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) and Women in Aviation International (WAI).
OSU and its aviation partners were awarded a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to help establish a sustainable pipeline that addresses the needs and priorities of the aviation maintenance workforce, a significant sector of the aviation and aerospace industry that drives Oklahoma’s economic growth.
Dr. Timm Bliss, graduate program coordinator for Aviation and Space at OSU, is the principal investigator for the project.
“This seamless pipeline connects a broad array of educational systems and non-profit organizations into an engaged network dedicated to recruit, assist, train and retain a diverse and talented workforce into the high-demand aviation maintenance industry,” Bliss said.
The pipeline has various entry points for high school students and adult learners interested in aviation and aerospace. By keeping this pipeline open, more individuals are able to access their desired programs and certifications offered by the participating schools and organizations. Maintenance students have the flexibility to start and stop programs in a timeframe that fits their schedule and aligns with the level of education they wish to complete. Offerings range from technical certifications to an Associate of Applied Technology, culminating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technical Services Management, offered by OSU-Tulsa.
Tulsa Tech, an FAA-approved training facility, has been active in technical education for more than 50 years, reaching 51 public and private high schools within its district. By tapping into Oklahoma’s talents early on, Tulsa Tech is able to prepare students for matriculation into Tulsa Community College, as well as OSU-Tulsa programs, with minimal credit hour requirements. Technical training hours earned at Tulsa Tech are applied to subsequent programs at the other participating institutions to be considered for degree completion. The FAA grant award helps offset the cost to complete the remaining credit hours of general education coursework.
Scholarships and funding are an integral piece of the pipeline, providing underrepresented and disadvantaged populations with a pathway to a career in the aviation and aerospace workforce. With $14 million in scholarships already disbursed to its members, Women in Aviation International can now offer $20,000 in educational scholarships specific to aviation maintenance training for high school students and adult learners, thanks to the FAA grant.
Wrap-around initiatives provided by the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OBAP) and WAI are vital in creating and continuing the aviation maintenance workforce pipeline in Oklahoma and encourage a more diverse industry workforce, addressing a need that stretches beyond just pilots.