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AOPA, Choose Aerospace partner on aviation education, workforce development

With an intent to meet the ongoing and increasing demand for pilots and mechanics, AOPA and Choose Aerospace are teaming up to share ideas, best practices, and training resources.

Photo by Rebecca Boone.

According to a memorandum of understanding signed October 5, the parties will collaborate to “identify curriculum alignment, jointly promote each other’s educational materials, and pursue grant funding opportunities related to aviation.”

The partnership between the AOPA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AOPA, and Choose Aerospace, a nonprofit partnership of aerospace stakeholders interested in diversifying and increasing the aviation workforce, will attempt to reduce duplicated efforts to build robust aviation programs that fulfill the interests of students and meet aviation and aerospace workforce demands.

The MOU between the parties focuses on the AOPA Foundation High School Aviation STEM Curriculum and the Choose Aerospace Aviation Maintenance Curriculum initiatives. The Choose Aerospace two-year aviation maintenance technician general prep course complements the AOPA Foundation drone and pilot pathways, enabling districts that participate to create direct pathways to three in-demand aviation careers. Details of the agreement include comparison of curriculum benchmarks and competencies; cross-promotion of the curriculum and materials through several digital and in-person avenues; and exploration of grant funding proposals related to K-12 aviation education.

“This agreement allows the AOPA Foundation and Choose Aerospace to collaborate more closely,” said Glenn Ponas, AOPA Foundation director of high school outreach. “Together, we will be able to provide our respective curricula and resources to school districts and career technical centers and support them in creating pathways to careers as pilots, drone pilots, and aviation maintenance technicians.”

In Boeing Co.’s Pilot and Technician Outlook 2023-2042, data forecasts the need for more than 649,000 pilots and 690,000 technicians over the next 20 years. The aviation industry is actively working to make sure this workforce demand is met, while also anticipating demand for skilled workers for new sectors, such as advanced air mobility..

“Aviation industry stakeholders recognize the need to invest resources and collaborate as part of developing a sustainable, diverse workforce,” said Ryan Goertzen, Vice president of workforce development at AAR Corp. and president of Choose Aerospace. “The Choose Aerospace-AOPA Foundation partnership will help both organizations maximize their already-productive efforts to feed aerospace’s workforce pipeline.”

Initiatives from the AOPA Foundation and Choose Aerospace play key roles in helping industry meet this workforce demand, providing education, training, and employment pathways in the communities they serve.

Lillian Geil

Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: AOPA Foundation, Student, Aviation Education Programs

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