STILLWATER, Okla. (OBV) – Oklahoma CareerTech has a new curriculum that will prepare high school and technology students for careers in aerospace maintenance.
CareerTech’s high school and technology center programs now have access to a free aerospace curriculum.
Choose Aerospace, a nonprofit organization composed of aerospace industry stakeholders, will provide the curriculum after signing a contract with the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, according to an Oklahoma CareerTech news release.
The Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) manages Choose Aerospace, which provides an aviation curriculum designed to place students on the path to FAA mechanic certification.
“At CareerTech, what we work off of is demand,” said Brent Haken, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “We don’t create a supply of workforce; we create a workforce because of the demand that’s out there in the industry, and that’s why Oklahoma CareerTech is so strong, why we’ve been so nimble, and that’s what we’re doing in the aerospace industry.”
Aerospace is Oklahoma’s second largest industry, and more certified mechanics are needed to meet that demand, according to Haken.
ATEC anticipates a significant workforce shortage. ATEC President James Hall said in late 2023 that the number of students entering the aerospace maintenance field needs to increase by 20 percent to meet industry demand.
“We are working right now to make sure every CareerTech school has licenses for any student that’s enrolled in those programs and wants to take part in Choose Aerospace. We’re going to make sure that happens through the Department of CareerTech,” Hall said.
A few Oklahoma schools used Choose Aerospace’s curriculum last year at a $200-per-student cost, according to Tonja Norwood, manager of CareerTech’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics education division.
“If a school had a class of 20 times $200, that equaled $4,000,” Norwood said. “Now it will be free, so schools can teach the curriculum at no cost.”
Federal grant money received through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is funding the curriculum. The 21st Century Act, better known as Perkins V, provides students across the nation opportunities to develop skills and earn certifications toward career advancement.
The CareerTech STEM division, ATEC and Choose Aerospace collaborated in aligning the 12 FAA modules to STEM courses that count for Oklahoma’s Promise credit, according to Norwood. Schools across Oklahoma signed up to teach the curriculum, including Broken Arrow, Moore, Okmulgee, Putnam City, Tulsa, Sand Springs and Yukon.
The curriculum, which aligns with Federal Aviation Administration Airman Certification Standards, is intended for high school juniors and seniors. Its modular design enables schools and tech centers to make adjustments that meet their program’s needs.
Students can either continue their education or go straight into the aerospace maintenance industry upon completing the curriculum, according to Ryan Goertzen, Choose Aerospace president.
Click here to watch a video from a teacher training session earlier this month and learn more about Choose Aerospace.
School officials who are interested in acquiring the curriculum can contact the CareerTech STEM division at firstname.lastname@example.org or by dialing 405-743-5187.