The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) announced a funding initiative with the U.S. Air Force to encourage youth to enter military, commercial, or additional aviation careers in the face of a pilot shortage that is expected to affect the future of air travel.
The Youth Aviation Initiative includes $1 million for cadet flight instruction; $500,000 for science, technology, engineering, and math support; $500,000 for career exploration activities; and $400,000 for cadet orientation flights.
John Desmarais, director of operations at CAP National Headquarters, said the group was working “on many fronts” to encourage youth to pursue aviation pathways. He added that the CAP was “expanding existing programs as well as fielding new ones to address the challenges” of fielding more aviation and aerospace professionals.
The group’s summer and winter encampments are popular programs that teach youth how to fly powered and nonpowered aircraft. Additional special activities include leadership training and other year-round skill-building programs.
The all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary consists of 61,000 members, operates 560 aircraft, and saves an average of 82 lives annually by participating in search-and-rescue missions, including missions during hurricanes Florence and Michael, which devastated the Southeast.