Kentucky Receives FAA Grant To Develop Aviation Careers


This month, the Kentucky Education and Labor Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Development received $500,000 from the FAA’s Aircraft Pilot Workforce Development Grant program to implement a career preparation curriculum (CPC). In partnership with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation, Kentucky’s Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services will administer the funds. The AOPA Foundation has already developed a curriculum specifically designed to prepare high school students for aviation careers.

AOPA President Mark Baker said, “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to help ensure a bright future for Kentucky’s students and aviation. We are also confident that Kentucky’s model can inspire other states to follow suit for their students.”

Based on AOPA Foundation research, the CPC addresses how “Generation Z”—those born from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s—have demonstrated significant technical understanding and are socially engaged, but potential employers frequently find that they lack so-called “soft skills” that come from work experience.

“Based on these parameters,” AOPA wrote, “the foundation created a semester-long curriculum that includes hands-on activities and projects that build time management skills, customer service skills, and other basics such as résumé writing and job interview techniques.” In a supportive apprentice-like environment, students are coached in developing the required skill sets.

AOPA continued, “Using real-world scenarios, students are then guided to apply those skills in an aviation environment.” A statement from Kentucky state agencies and the AOPA Foundation described the program as having been created to “help meet the current demand of over 2,000 job openings in Kentucky’s aviation sector and its looming growth needs,” and to “help prepare Kentucky youth for airline pilot, commercial drone operator, aerospace engineering, and other aerospace STEM careers.”

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.