FAA Awards AOPA Foundation With Grant to Further Its High School STEM Initiative

March 6, 2023

Recognizing its efforts to bring high-quality STEM-based aviation education to thousands of high school students across the country, the AOPA Foundation has been awarded a grant by the Federal Aviation Administration to enrich and broaden its free high school curriculum aimed at building the pipeline of pilots, aviation technicians, and other aviation professionals.

Twenty-three education organizations and schools nationwide have received a total of $10 million in FAA Grants to help develop the next generation of aviation professionals. AOPA Foundation’s $498,000 grant came from the FAA’s Aircraft Pilots Aviation Workforce Development Grants program, designed to “prepare students to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators, and support the related professional development of teachers.” 

The AOPA Foundation’s You Can Fly High School initiative currently engages more than 16,300 students in 43 states. Since the program began six years ago, it has educated more than 49,000 students, with 70 percent of the most recent graduates saying they are actively pursuing an aviation career. As important, half of the students come from minority backgrounds and one-quarter are female, supporting the need for aviation to be more inclusive and a true reflection of society. 

The grant will be used to train additional educators across the country through in-person sessions, ensuring teachers have access to the high-quality professional development they need to maximize their involvement with the You Can Fly High School initiative. 

“The FAA’s understanding and appreciation of our award-winning STEM curriculum and the impact it is having on high school students across the country is further validation of our commitment and dedication to introducing and educating young men and women to aviation,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. 

In addition, a partnership between the AOPA Foundation and the Commonwealth of Kentucky was awarded an Aircraft Pilots Workforce Development Grant to support a new initiative to help prepare Kentucky high school students to become aircraft pilots, aerospace engineers, or unmanned aircraft systems operators. The program will be fueled by the You Can Fly High School initiative. 

“AOPA is thrilled to partner with education leaders in Kentucky to introduce aviation to students across the commonwealth,” said Baker. “We are ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to help ensure a bright future for Kentucky’s students.” 

Two high schools currently using the You Can Fly High School initiative were also awarded grants. The School District of Philadelphia was bestowed funds to fuel private pilot and unmanned aircraft training at Frankford High School. The Fulton Leadership Academy in East Point, Ga., in partnership with the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, was awarded an FAA grant to create a dual enrollment aviation maintenance technician program for students.