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AOPA launches aviation career prep curriculum

Free workshops in Kentucky

Kentucky state agencies and the AOPA Foundation You Can Fly program partnered to develop the Aviation Job Experience and Career Preparation Curriculum (CPC). The CPC was introduced on February 20 with a presentation at the Aviation Museum of Kentucky in Lexington.

About 170 guests enjoyed an introduction to the CPC led by the AOPA Foundation. Photo by Chris Rose.

In March, Kentucky’s Education and Labor Cabinet’s Department of Workforce Development received a $500,000 FAA Aircraft Pilot Workforce Development Grant. It will be administered by the Office of Employer and Apprenticeship Services in partnership with the AOPA Foundation, which developed a curriculum designed to prepare high school students for professional careers in the aviation industry.

The foundation invited a total of 170 guests to the February presentation, including educators; aviation and aerospace employers; and dignitaries of Kentucky’s Education and Labor Cabinet, Department of Education, and Department of Aviation. They were introduced to the CPC, which is primarily focused on Generation Z, born in the period ranging from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s. According to the foundation’s research for the CPC, people born during this period tend to have a wealth of technical understanding. They are socially engaged, but also have less work experience and are more prone to anxiety than previous generations. Potential employers consider this group to be lacking in soft skills, and feel they are unprepared to enter today’s workforce.

Based on these parameters, 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. Students are given opportunities to practice workplace skills in a safe, supportive environment. Using real-world scenarios, students are then guided to apply those skills in an aviation environment.

According to a statement issued by representatives of Kentucky state agencies, as well as the AOPA Foundation, the program was created to “help meet the current demand of over 2,000 job openings in Kentucky’s aviation sector and its looming growth needs.” The program is “designed to help prepare Kentucky youth for airline pilot, commercial drone operator, aerospace engineering, and other aerospace STEM careers.” It is meant for schools or districts that would be inclined to add or expand aviation education to their curricula.

For schools and workforce development programs interested in using the curriculum, the foundation will offer two three-day Aviation Educator Training Workshops April 15 through 17 in Florence, Kentucky, and May 8 through 10 in Louisville. Registration and hotel accommodation are free for Kentucky attendees. In addition, an Aviation Workforce Development Workshop will be held on April 17 in Florence and on May 10 in Louisville, focusing on strategies to filling potential employers’ pipelines with highly qualified candidates.

“AOPA is thrilled to partner with education leaders in Kentucky to introduce the fulfilling world of aviation to students across the commonwealth,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “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.”

The You Can Fly program and the Air Safety Institute are funded by charitable donations to the AOPA Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization. To be a part of the solution, visit

Sylvia Schneider Horne
Digital Media Editor
Sylvia Schneider Horne is a digital media editor for AOPA's eMedia division.
Topics: You Can Fly, AOPA Foundation, Aviation Education Programs

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