Textron Inc. has donated $1 million to support the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) You Can Fly initiative and its High School Aviation science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum. According to AOPA, more than 12,000 students in 44 states are currently making use of the curriculum, which offers aviation-oriented study for students in grades nine through twelve. In addition to the High School STEM Curriculum, You Can Fly provides programs designed to support flying clubs, encourage best practices in flight training and get lapsed pilots back in the air.
“We are grateful to our friends at Textron for their tremendous support as we work together to grow the general aviation community, and help young people from all backgrounds discover the incredible opportunities available in aviation and aerospace,” said Elizabeth Tennyson, senior vice president of the AOPA Foundation and You Can Fly. “The You Can Fly High School Aviation STEM Curriculum is a true win-win: it addresses one of the most pressing issues facing the entire aviation industry, and it puts high school students on a solid track to rewarding careers.”
Available to schools free of charge, AOPA’s You Can Fly High School Aviation STEM Curriculum is designed provide four years of study options via two pathways—pilot and drone. The program launched for the 2017-2018 school year and AOPA reports that 58 percent of its first graduates are planning to pursue aviation-related careers. The organization also noted that 40 percent of students in the program come from minority backgrounds, 21 percent are female and 54 percent attend mid-to-high-poverty schools.